Why Matter matters to me

My home automation started years ago with Wink. I installed a number of Zigbee and Zwave devices and the Wink app worked pretty well integrating all of my smart home devices into one platform. It's when I was able to use Lutron's connected device remotes also. :wink:

Wink went away, came back, went away again, and who knows now....

I transitioned from Wink to Hubitat but didn't like the interface and went to Smartthings. I wasn't looking for a hobby, just a smart home that worked. I was into Alexa, with an Echo in every room.

I'll fast forward to now - I have no Alexa devices and I use Apple Home for all devices and automation. In order to accomplish this, and have all my original devices work, I now have Hubitat (for Zwave/Zigbee), Homebridge, and Ring security system. I have several AppleTV's and a few Apple HomePods...so one of them works as a Home Hub.

My Hubitat only works as a means to allow Home to see and control the Zigbee/Zwave devices through Homebridge. I use Homebridge plugins to connect my Ring, UniFi Protect, Rachio irrigation, Hubitat, and Tuya Platform WiFi lights. Hubitat is not at the center of my Home Automation system. All of my devices showing in Home are not 'HomeKit Certified'....and I'm guessing that doesn't matter too much.

I would like to have better integration between my hubs and I'm hoping that Matter will provide this. I would like to have my Hubitat hub integrate directly with Apple's HomeKit and possibly have better control of my devices. I am by no means an expert when it comes to home automation, but I think with every device there are differences between the properties that are exposed. For example, from Hubitat I can see battery levels are possibly more accurate details regarding its state. With my current implementation going through Homebridge, maybe I loose access to some of those properties (ability to view or control them)....or possibly the information is stale?

I think most folks with a larger implementation of smart home devices have to leverage more than one hub. It's my understanding that Matter will support better integration between hubs. Of course, this is all dependent on its implementation on those hubs. For example, I've read that Smartthings has implemented Matter on some of its hubs, but decided not to expose Zigbee/Zwave devices with its Matter integration. If this wasn't the case, I would have been switching back to Smartthings....and wouldn't have a need for Hubitat any longer. Again, for me, Hubitat is just a means to get my Zigbee/Zwave devices into Apple's Home system.

From my search on this community site it appears there is more interest in Thread when it comes to devices, but I don't see much interest regarding the integration between hubs. I'm curious if others have use for Matter support to integrate with other systems like Apple.

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@mike1 Thread is also part of matter. That said, even with matter that does not mean that your existing devices will magically talk with other matter devices. Only matter devices will communicate with other matter devices/hubs. Your existing zigbee/z-wave devices will be attached to hubitat. You can still share those with homekit through the homekit integration and homekit supports matter so new matter devices can be attached directly to home kit. (And hubitat once matter is turned on in there). So 2 matter hubs won't directly talk to eachother without an API in between them. That is separate from matter at that point. So the bottom line is even with matter, likely unless your existing devices can upgrade to support matter, you will be stuck with your existing integrations and the way they talk to eachother. (A matter device can be used in all apps whose hub supports matter of course)

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I'll preface my comments with two caveats, I'm not promoting that I make the right decisions all the time and I don't know everything or make the most informed decisions all of the time :wink:

For me the protocol doesn't factor into my decisions as much, I am more looking for options in the devices and platforms I choose. If I look at my lighting, control of my blinds and my choice of Logitech Harmony....

  • My Hue lights, connected to the Hue bridge, can be controlled via HE, the Hue App, physical Hue accessories like dimmers or Hue Tap Dials, Home Assistant, Google / Alexa Assistants, etc.
  • My Somfy motors in my blinds allows for control via the physical remotes that came with the motors, the Bond bridge I purchased for smart control via the Bond App and HE, Home Assistant, Alexa / Google, etc
    (Can you detect a pattern....)
  • Admittedly Harmony is on the way out... That happens.... But I have most of the options for each of the avenues listed above for now...

The point being, I, in most cases have local manual control via accessories, native App control in the ecosystem for the device, control via mutliple voice assistants plus integrations in popular Smart Home platforms, allowing me to migrate to these or leverage them alongside HE if I choose to (which I have in the case of HA).

So while we can never make a "bullet-proof" decision on a platform / device for each purchase we make, if we can at least give ourselves options, that can make it easier to adapt into the future. That doesn't necessarily discount yours and others push for Matter, but I would, personally, urge people to consider more than just the protocol when assessing the versatility of a platform or device. As I make this case.... I do now accept that inclusion of Matter within HE would at least provide the same flexibility I have described as a positive to the choices I have made to date... I may have painted myself into a corner :slight_smile:

My only other justification for not wanting to jump on the Matter band-wagon just yet would be not wanting to jump at the latest fad, but maybe that's just my personality.... The investment that likely required, including ongoing maintenance and support of Matter devices, may or may not pay off into the future. My preference, for a company like HE, would be to see others invest the capital in R&D to get Matter accepted and having a solid foundation before they take a significant plunge into supporting it in a major way natively. Their integrations with other platforms, like I described in my own choices, can be leveraged in the early stages, making use of their prior investment in those integrations.

Just my... well 2c probably isn't an adequate representation nowadays of the time I spent.... Ah... You get the idea.... :wink:


Going back to my comment about Smartthings.... If Smartthings had decided to expose my Zigbee/Zwave devices via Matter, you're saying this wouldn't matter? It's my understanding that via software, they had the option to expose these devices and decided not to. If they had I would, for example, been able to see my Zigbee lightbulb in Home and control it without using Homebridge.

Maybe my understanding is wrong...I didn't think this required the Zigbee bulb to be Matter compatible, only the Smartthings Hub it is connected to. If this is not the case, then I understand where you are coming from.

No the devices do not get exposed via matter on st or any other hub, they have to be matter compliant in the first place. They can expose those devices to something else via an api...(example is how hubitat exposes devices to homekit )

With this being the case, then yes....nothing changes for me. Home is the only system where all my devices are exposed, so this is where I implement my automation. It's not a bad system, just a little more maintenance than I would like.

The Hue bridge can expose Hue lights to Apple Home via matter, but the extra functionality that is provided by the legacy Hue integration is lost.

That's not matter that's via homekit integration..

Correct that this isn't in ST / Hubitat at the moment, but it is currently implemented in the Aquara hub https://www.aqara.com/en/article-1583275073188196352.html and Philips has said they will implement this for Hue lights, but it isn't ready yet (Philips Hue’s Matter update has been delayed - The Verge).

I understand that Silicon Labs is providing code / support for matter bridging, StackPath and Matter Bridge - v1.0.3 - Silicon Labs Matter Silicon Labs so it seems support is already being developed by Silicon Labs so that ST / Hubitat and others can provide support if / when they decide to do so.

Personally, I think this will be developed pretty slowly - I'm guess that in 2023 you'll see hubs that are able to connect to and control Matter devices, but few will be able to bridge their own devices (e.g., connecting to and control of matter devices, but without bridging, is already in Home Assistant), but full bridging for many of these hubs (like Hubitat / ST) is probably another year away.

As a separate point of view, Matter doesn't matter to me.

I have a C7 with antenna mod. All of my devices work with 100% reliability. I have no desire to change to Matter, nor do I need to replace my Hubitat with a C8 or my Z-Wave modules with 800 versions simply because I don't need the extra range.

No, I have the Matter beta firmware for the Hue bridge. Connection to Home via Matter requires giving up functionality, like Adaptive Lighting specifically, and I switched back to the legacy Homekit integration for that reason.


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