Me Again 😎 the Smart Home Newsletter Returns 🏠

GM! and it’s been a while since I wrote one of my weekly emails 🖐. To be honest, just been busy on the real-life front, with lots going on with our large family. A little rusty at the moment, so bear with me as I get my typing fingers back into action ⌨️. As always, the newsletter continues to evolve, and I decided to include a new ‘section’ titled weekly smart home theme AI-generated image! Also, apologies if the smart home space is no longer of interest, and if that’s the case, please feel free to unsubscribe below. And now down to business; Let’s see what has been happening in the smart home space this last week:

Samsung SmartThings Matter Certified

Later this month, Samsung SmartThings v2 and v3 hubs, as well as the SmartThings Android app, will receive an over-the-air update. This update will allow the SmartThings hubs to control matter-compatible smart devices over Wi-Fi and Ethernet. With this new update, Samsung SmartThings users will be able to control matter-compatible devices using a single application instead of installing multiple apps from different smart home device manufacturers. This announcement means that Samsung is the first automation company to secure Matter certification. Even though the now upgraded SmartThings hubs will continue to support Z-Wave and Zigbee, they won’t bridge with Matter. On the other hand, the SmartThings dongle and software-based SmartThings hubs found in Samsung TVs and Family Hub refrigerators will also be updated to support Matter functionality at a later date.

Fortunately, SmartThings v3 hubs and the SmartThings dongle for all Samsung appliances with SmartThings software hubs will automatically become Thread border routers. This basically means that if you own a Samsung smart TV or smart refrigerator and purchase the $35 SmartThings dongle, you’ll have a SmartThings Matter controller with a Thread border router ready as soon as the OVA update arrives. Even though Matter-compatible devices have not yet hit the market, we can all expect them to start rolling out later this year, especially after the launch of the official Matter 1.0 standard. It’s worth noting that the SmartThings v2 hubs can’t be upgraded to Thread and will only control Matter-compatible devices over Wi-Fi and Ethernet. However, the v2 hubs will be able to control any Thread devices using a Thread border router in- built into another smart device. The same goes for Samsung smart TVs, monitors, and Family Hub refrigerators. Additionally, Samsung has confirmed that they have no plans to include their smart TVs and other appliances to Matter as smart devices. This means that users will control such appliances using the SmartThings application, not Matter controllers.

The company has also unveiled new features in its SmartThings application that enables users to categorize their smart home functions into air quality, energy management, pet care, and cooking to provide actionable control. Except for energy management, these smart home functions only work with Samsung devices. The management feature can be used to monitor the energy consumption of all devices connected to SmartThings, even if they’re manufactured by other brands. For most smart home enthusiasts, Samsung’s failure to include the bridge function in its SmartThings hubs goes against the company’s claim of pursuing automation openness. If Samsung enabled this bridge function, it would have become the first company of the big four to bring Z-Wave and Zigbee smart home devices to Matter. This would have allowed all Matter-certified platforms to control any compatible devices connected to the SmartThings hubs. Get the whole read here.

Matter 1.0 Standard Officially Released

Back in 2019, when the idea of Matter started circulating, many people thought that it would never happen, at least not in our lifetime. It was hard to imagine leading automation companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung sitting at the same table to come up with a universal standard that would control all smart home devices. Can you imagine top smart cameras and smart light manufacturers coming up with a single system to control their products? The idea sounded far-fetched. As soon as the delays started piling up, many people were convinced that Matter would never take off. Fast forward to years later, and the Connectivity Standards Alliance has now released the Matter 1.0 Standard and also announced that the Matter certification program is now up and running. This means that over 550 technology companies can start manufacturing, upgrading, and securing their Matter certification for their smart home devices.

As part of the Matter 1.0 Standard release, all authorized test labs are open for product certification since the test harnesses and tools are available, and the open-source reference design software kit (SDK) is complete. All this is intended to bring new, advanced, and innovative smart home products to the market. Additionally, companies with smart devices already deployed and plan to update their products to become Matter-compatible can do so as soon as they get their certification. Even though the Matter 1.0 Standard has just been released, several technology companies were already working on Matter-compatible products as part of an early program. This means we may start seeing Matter-compatible products any day from now, even before the official Matter launch event scheduled on November 3rd. During the long-awaited launch event, some of the products will likely be on the show.

The official invitation to the Matter launch event indicates that there will be a special demo area where various companies can showcase their Matter-certified products for the first time. The Matter 1.0 Standard is designed to make using smart home devices much simpler. Once your doorbell and lights find a way to communicate with each other seamlessly over Wi-Fi or Thread, your smart home will become faster and more responsive. Additionally, with a common language for your smart home, your devices can be controlled using more than one digital voice assistant. Since the Matter idea started floating around, over 280 technology companies, including Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Google, Comcast, and Signify, have brought forward their technologies, experience, and innovations to ensure that Matter meets the needs of all stakeholders involved.

Google Launches New Nest Wi-Fi Pro Mesh Router and a Nest Doorbell

Google Nest team has announced a new Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router and a new hardwired version of the Nest Doorbell. This announcement will help set the stage for the upcoming Google Pixel launch event, where the company is expected to launch a lineup of the new Pixel 7 smartphones and the long-awaited Google Pixel Watch. The Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router is a follow-up to the original Nest Wi-Fi and Google Wi-Fi. The new Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router

comes with a glossy new look, a simple setup, and faster tri-band Wi-Fi 6E speeds that can connect with devices over the 2.4 and 5GHz bands and the less crowded 6GHz band. The all-new 6GHz band offers users more than twice the bandwidth as the 5GHz. In order to keep things running quickly, the new router analyzes network performance and optimized connections while prioritizing high-bandwidth activities like streaming and video calls.

The Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router has a similar shape as the previous model but uses high-gloss material inspired by ceramics and over 60% recycled materials by weight. Generally, the new router looks shinier compared to the initial model, and it will come in four colors, including Snow, lemongrass, linen, and fog, to blend in with most home décor. The Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router will also involve a simpler setup and proactive scans that can catch faulty connections and

notify users on the Google Home app. This new router can connect to your modem over Ethernet and serve as the main router of your entire setup. One of the best things about the Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router is that its ideally designed to work well with Matter with the help of the built-in Thread border router that enables it to communicate well with other Thread-compatible Matter smart home devices. Google has also confirmed that a single Nest Wi-Fi Pro mesh router can cover up to 2,200 square feet and attain a top speed of 5.9 gigabits per second. It will cost you $200 for a one-pack of the Nest Wi-Fi Pro and $400 for a 3-pack. Google is also expected to launch a hardwired version of the Nest Doorbell which will cost $179. The new doorbell comes in four colors and guarantees 24/7 access to your front door footage, improved picture quality,

two-way talk, new software updates, customizable activity zones, and object-specific alerts for people, packages, animals, and vehicles.

The new Nest Doorbell will also use a 3:4 vertical aspect that makes it convenient to view on your smartphone. By adding a $6 per month subscription to Nest Aware, you’ll get access to up to 30 days of recorded video event history. However, you can increase that to 60 days of recorded video event history by simply purchasing a $12 per month Nest Aware Plus subscription. When it comes to privacy and security, the new Nest Doorbell uses encryption to protect video footage and two-factor authentication, making it harder for other people to access your account. However, Nest Doorbell doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption, which would prevent Google from accessing your video data. This is because the company reserves the right to comply with police requests for video data in an emergency.

Netatmo Won’t Support HomeKit Secure Video

Netatmo is walking back the promise it made to users that its smart video doorbell will support HomeKit Secure Video due to hardware limitations. When Netatmo launched the smart video doorbell in September 2020, it promised users that HomeKit Secure Video would arrive later. But, after months of internal and external testing, the company has confirmed that the doorbell’s support for HomeKit Secure Video won’t be possible. While the company has provided several reasons why the support won’t happen as initially planned, the main one has to do with the video capture rate. According to Apple, for any video doorbell device to work with HomeKit Secure Video (HKSV), it must fulfill continuous encoding of video at 30fps. Currently, the Netatmo video doorbell runs at 2fps, which means that for it to adopt the HKSV technology, the company must increase the device’s video capture rate to 30fps. This is a 15× increase in video processing and recording while simultaneously requiring active Wi-Fi streams on a regular basis. While Netatmo had assured users that this upgrade was possible, it was only after carrying out several external and internal testing they ran into serious problems. During the tests, the company discovered that the video capture rate upgrade significantly impacted the video doorbell’s power consumption and internal temperature. Therefore, despite the many tests, the company has decided that the Netatmo video doorbell won’t support

HomeKit Secure Video. There is no denying that this announcement will disappoint many users who purchased the video doorbell with hopes that would support HKSV.

Roku Launches an Extensive Lineup of DIY Smart Home Devices

Recently, Roku and Walmart announced the launch of a new lineup of Roku smart home products, including smart bulbs, plugs, linear strip lighting, security cameras, doorbells, and many others. This announcement means that Roku has expanded its already broad product line of affordable DIY smart products that customers, available at almost 3,500 Walmart stores nationwide.

It’s worth noting that these products will connect directly to Roku TVs, meaning tens of millions of American households can power and control their smart devices conveniently. The integration of Roku smart home products with Roku OS allows users to receive real-time alerts and view live streams of their smart cameras and video doorbells directly from their Roku TVs or players. This basically means that you can adjust the color of your lights or see the person knocking at your door while streaming your favorite show.

You’ll be able to control all your Roku smart home devices using a brand-new Roku smart home app available for both Android and iOS users. Additionally, the new lineup of Roku smart home products will be compatible with Roku voice and third-party voice integrations such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to enable users to give hand-free commands.

Even though Walmart was mentioned as the main partner at the launch, they’re not the only one. The new lineup of Roku smart home products has come into existence as a result of Roku’s partnership with Wyze Labs, a smart home brand that has an extensive lineup of budget-friendly smart home devices in its portfolio, such as smart cameras, thermostats, bulbs, plugs, and locks.

Wyze Labs’ main role in this partnership is to manage the Roku Smart Home cloud, which is responsible for storing customer personal information and videos. However, Wyze Labs doesn’t have direct access to this data.

With that being said, Roku smart home products will likely be transmitting users’ smart home commands and video footage using end-to-end encryption. This means that no one can access or view personal information without the user’s unique password.

Up to this point, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether the new lineup of Roku smart home products will support Matter or not. If you’ve been keeping up with the smart home world, then you’d probably know that Matter is a new universal smart home standard that has been backed by top automation companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and many others. Even though Roku and Wyze are among the Matter supporters, both companies have not made any clear promises to users with the new products.

Even though Roku and Walmart didn’t provide full pricing details at the launch, users can be certain that all the smart home products will cost less than $100. Users will have the opportunity to subscribe to a monthly camera plan which comes with cloud video recording history, package delivery notifications, and smart alerts. The smart home products will feature data encryption, two-factor authentication, secure boot, and other security features.

The lineup of smart home devices will include the following:

  • Roku smart light strips
  • Roku flood light camera
  • Roku indoor camera 360°
  • Roku indoor and outdoor cameras
  • Roku smart bulbs (white and color)
  • Roku indoor and outdoor smart plugs
  • Roku video doorbell and chime

Smart Home AI-Generated Illustration of the Week!

This is it for today, See you next Wednesday morning 😉. If you have colleagues, friends, or neighbors that would benefit from knowing about smart home devices, please consider sharing them.

They can sign up for the newsletter by going here.

– Gerard


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