After no small amount of radio silence from Amazon regarding Matter, their products, or anything at all, really, the company has announced that their Matter-enabled Thread devices can now be set up using iOS. This is welcomed news after so much time elapsed of nothing happening in the world of Amazon, aside from some developer updates and the release of an Echo device in India. Welcomed news, indeed, for iOS users, too.
Some Background on Matter
The update comes to three Matter controllers and one Thread border router. For those of you who are new to the world of Matter, Matter is uses a low-power and low-latency mesh network protocol called “Thread” that’s designed for smart homes and the Internet of Things. To break through this network and onto Wi-Fi, it needs a Thread border router.
There are smart home products that have Thread border routers built-in so you don’t need to buy a separate device to use Matter if you have one of these. A Matter controller is like the brains of the operation, and the Thread border router is what talks to the Matter controller, which then controls your Matter products. Savvy?
Some products are both Matter controllers and Thread border routers, like the Nest Hub Max. They don’t have to be. That does, in my opinion, make things expedient. Why would you need a thread border router, exactly? They’re necessary for devices that use Thread so that Thread devices can be controlled by voice assistants, like Alexa, and talk to non-Thread devices. It’s a way to connect your whole home without all the products needing to belong to the same manufacturer, so long as all the devices are Matter compatible. Many products have received or are receiving Matter updates, and we can expect more to come.
Which Amazon Products Get the Upgrade?
Glad you asked. The Matter controllers are the second-generation Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot. The Echo (4th Gen) is the Thread border router. If you’ve already got one of these products, you’re good to go. If not, you can easily grab one from Amazon.
Those who have the Echo (4th Gen) were already able to use Matter-enabled Wi-Fi devices, but now can add Matter-enabled Thread devices to the mix. They also can use Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Mesh.
Now, of course, all of this can be set up using iOS, which lets iPhone users have more flexibility in their smart homes, and Eve Energy—previously HomeKit only—can now be controlled with Alexa once set up via Matter.
A More Connected Future
This update from Amazon marks another historic moment in the smart home industry. Each move made by these companies on the Matter initiative brings us closer to a more connected future where our smart homes can be controlled by any voice assistant, no matter the product.