Well so far there have been a few video's on YouTube this week demonstrating that Matter still isn't ready for prime time. Automate Your Life's video is below, but also Mr. Hibbert did his review and although not as in-depth does show the many hoops one has to jump though to get a device working:
Dang! Just watched the whole thing. Sounds about as expected for a new "standard" that everyone involved has to live up to for it to work. If something breaks, is it because Apple or Google had a problem? Or is the cheap Chinese manufacturer of the device and firmware? Or is it the discount dashboard app that they licensed? Or is it multiple at once? No way to know!
I've been a software developer for more than 20 years, and I started to choke when he said the api integrations are more like a "web". If there's ANYTHING I've learned, it's that single-path pipelines are vastly more reliable.
No, I think I'll be sticking with my z-wave and zigbee stuff for a while. My debugging is purely linear and deterministic:
- Pair the device to Hubitat. Can I see and control it now?
- Expose it via MakerApi. Did my Homebridge plugin find it and understand it? Check that it showed up in Apple's Home app, and as the right accessory type.
- Expose it via the Hubitat Alexa integration. Check that the Alexa app found it, and recognized its type.
It's straight lines, with visibility at every step. Maybe that's the worst part of what I saw in the video. There is NO WAY to know what is going on at any point, and no indication why things are failing in a probabilistic way. This is a recipe for turning people away from home automation.
"A camel is a horse designed by committee"
Sounds about as expected for a new "standard" that everyone involved has to live up to for it to work.
That's what's baffled me for a while now; how so many influencer types have been so utopianly optimistic about Matter's rollout. Sure, it's got some great ideals but have they not lived in the real world before? I generally enjoy watching Brian and Paul and Stacey on IOT and Smart Home Solver and whoever else, but realistically how else was an initial rollout going to go? Why did none of them expect anything other than sunshine and rainbows?
Granted, matter and thread are in their infancy but I feel pretty confident that my take on these technologies will prove to be mostly true in the long run. Both of these nascent techs have been nothing but an to me so I can't/won't be able to address specific points but I don't need to because my point is global.
Given the players, and their history, involved with the creation/development of these technologies I believe it is a certainty that the #1 goal is collection of YOUR information so they can monetize it in ways we might not even imagine at this point. Any benefit to the user community will be an accidental by-product. I refuse to play.
Actually thread has been around a long time and is pretty darn reliable. Anything currently homekit compatible is thread based I believe.
Because too many have drank the Kool-Aid that when Apple, Google, and other big names get together the product would "just work" In actuality when you break out of their respective walled gardens and have to play in the real world you end up with a launch like we are seeing.
Don't forget Google's history of cancelling, what, 70% of the products they've rolled out. I've lost count of their video chat apps alone.
I am still missing some basic understandings of Matter, like - does it provide interoperability of device basic functionalities only?
Example: reading the comments on Amazon for a Zigbee smart plug manufacturer, one of the main complaints is that these do not retain the previous on/off state. After a power outage, they will remain switched off, so definitely not suitable for refrigerator power monitoring with the device default settings. Their representative says that the power-on behavior can be configured with their own Zigbee hub, but currently this preference is still not available in Hubitat.
Question: how will this change when/if the same device receives a thread update and is paired to a third-party Matter thread border router?
Will just the basic On/Off functionality be exposed, or Matter will also allow some specific (but important!) settings to be configured, without forcing us to purchase the particular manufacturer hub?
It's a mixed bag right now with what you can do with or without a boarder gateway device, what apps you bring functionality into etc. But if you watch the video the native apps still seem to have most of the functionality of the devices when connected to other apps you seem to be left to basic functions like off/on dim, etc.
Most HomeKit devices are WiFi/Ethernet based. There are a few HomeKit Thread devices, which do require an Apple HomePod or AppleTV with a Thread radio in order to join the HomeKit ecosystem. This is a proprietary HomeKit protocol running on top of the Thread mesh network.
Matter based Thread devices rely on IPv6 over Thread, running the Matter protocol. Apple has updated their AppleTV and HomePod Thread radio firmware to be able to communicate via Matter Thread. This is why some of the old HomeKit Thread devices can be upgraded to Matter Thread devices with just a firmware upgrade.
It also makes sense why Apple seems to be one of the most compatible Matter (both WiFi/Ethernet and Thread) Controllers right now. Apple really did not have to change their hardware platform, or even their high level architecture. They simply needed to add the Matter protocol alongside their existing HomeKit protocol. The very high level architectures of HomeKit and Matter are somewhat similar, IMHO. This makes perfect sense since Apple is one of the biggest proponents of Matter, along with Google.
No, that's the mouse / elephant! Which is actually the mouse built to government specifications. I separately discovered the video and looked at the matter posts to see if someone had already shared it. Mater will eventually matter but, for now I'm not making any new device choices with that in mind.
And I though it was a giraffe.
..so what is a viable alternative?
I use Hubitat and z-wave and zigbee. I refuse to use anything that requires a separate app, or cloud connectivity. This has served me well.
Really it's par for the course. Here we are with Zigbee/Z-wave some 20 years later still dealing with issues, and they think they're going to roll out a new platform that's awesome, LOL. Anyone remember the first Iphone or Android how "perfect" they were. All it takes to mess anything up, is a huge collection of cash, shareholders and a board.
You can download the matter standards here: Build With Matter | Smart Home Device Solution - CSA-IOT and that will give you a much clearer answer, but in simple terms, from a "what can you do to control a device" what you'll find is that device control follows the Zigbee cluster standard pretty closely, but they've added more specificity to the standards and introduced the concept of a "FeatureMap" which helps to more rigorously define when certain optional attributes will or won't be present. The standardization of which optional attributes will / won't be included through the use of the FeatureMap seems to facilitate implementations that lessen dependence on manufacturers hubs and apps since the FeatureMap will more clearly define what the device does / doesn't do.
Where matter departs more from Zigbee is in the networking part - how devices report, routing, recovery, security, multi-admin, and a host of other features. In this arena, you are getting a host of features, like multi-admin, that don't have a good equivalent in existing standards.
I saw that video as a giant "meh". Basically, he's not pointing out a problem with the matter standard. What he is saying is that end-device controller apps like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are behind in their implementations and need to catch up, but that Apple has got it right. But this isn't much different than what we have now with Hubitat. Use Hubitat's built in Google Home app and you'll get a fairly incomplete implementation (at least you did last time I tried it), which is why many, myself included, use the community-built integration app, though there are undoubtedly complex hoops to jump through for that (at least complex for the ordinary non-technical consumer market). Same with HomeKit - Hubitat's built-in is only now rolling out and its off to a somewhat rough start and certainly not as feature-rich as the homebridge versions; same with Alexa. So, yes, a few months after Matter's official release controller implementations are not all there yet, but at least from a end-controller app (iOS Home, Google Home, Alexa), there seems to be a lot of effort going into completing those in the short term. Seems that the lesson is that if you use iOS, then Matter is good for you now. If you use Google Home or Alexa, you'll likely want to wait for their apps to be updated.
Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I'm hopeful that matter, and its development along with thread's development using an open-source model with code on github will allow many more eyes on the code from many implementation perspectives and be a "savior" from the problems with the closed-source development of Z-wave and Zigbee. I speak specifically of Z-wave problems which silicon labs never seems to quite solve (I have on the order of 75+ Z-wave devices, all "plus" or 700-series based) and still have ongoing reliability problems, odd delays, non-responsiveness, etc. (which anybody with a C-7 hub knows are often tied to silicon labs problems getting their firmware right). Not to mention S2 security with its difficult-to-implemnt-right Supervision S2 (which the collective wisdom will tell you not to use except for locks). Open source worked for Linux and I'm optimistic it will help here too!
PS - if Inovelli gets it right with those Blue series Matter switches it has planned, I will be conducting a fire-sale of Z-wave dimmers, switches, etc.
I know that this is an old thread, but I wanted to make a point.
I feel that one of the key benefits of matter will be a consistent, simple, easy to use, on boarding process. I am really tired of all the different crazy schemes that vendors make us go through. For example, if I don't tap 10 times on the Up toggle switch, it won't factory reset. (God forbid I should toggle 11 times!). Or, if I don't alternate 5 up and down toggles in less than 1 second it won't factory reset!
For those of you out there, who have had to do this over and over and over again -
you know exactly what I mean!
I'm not saying it's ready, or even that it will ever be ready,
but if it standardizes onboarding, I will thank my lucky stars!