plan44 matter beta README

Following the matter SDK v1.0.0 release on October 4th, 2022, all devices (P44-DSB-xx digitalSTROM bridges and P44-LC-xx standalone controllers) can install a public beta firmware which enables the devices to work as matter bridges. This readme explains how to use the early beta matter implementation.


A P44-DSB or P44-LC device

The following devices are supported:

2.7.0.x beta firmware for your P44-xx device

To get the 2.7.0.x/1.7.0.x beta firmware for installation on your device, it must be registered at plan44 to enable these updates via the normal update mechanism.

Please just request this for your device by sending me an email, including the serial number of the device you want matter beta firmware for.

Suitable hardware with matter support for the smarthome oecosystem you want to use

With iOS/tvOS 16.1, Apple officially released matter (also in macOS Ventura and watchOS 9.1). Amazon announced on 3 November that it would equip 17 Echo devices with matter-enabled firmware by December 2022. I have not yet been able to test Alexa, Google and Samsung SmartThings myself, but all have had or will soon have matter releases.

For operation with Apple Home, the requirements are an iPhone or iPad for the user interface and an AppleTV or HomePod mini for the "Home Hub" functionality, all must have at least iOS/iPadOS/tvOS 16.1 installed.

How to enable matter bridging on P44-xx

Once the above requirements are met, onboarding is easy:

Once onboarding is complete, you'll have all the devices you selected for bridging (see second step above) visible in your app(s) and accessible directly or via a voice control assistant you might have (hey Siri, ok Google, Alexa).

You can add more devices now by clicking the "Enable for bridging to matter" button as described above - but give the smart home system a few minutes to sync up afterwards...

At this time ( beta), on/off devices, dimmed luminaires and plug-in devices, coloured luminaires, temperature, humidity and brightness sensors for "bridging" are supported. Further device types will follow.

For questions, discussions, suggestions etc. there is a new section for matter in the plan44 forum.

How to bridge digitalSTROM room state into matter

In the P44-DSB products, you'll see a new device section called "Bridging". Bridges are a special kind of devices which can bring matter support even into digitalSTROM rooms without any P44 based lights, just standard dS terminal blocks!

Bridge devices can be created by clicking on the "+Bridge" button, and then placed (in the dSS) into a digitalSTROM room. Bridge devices appear in dSS as a light with a local button.

A bridge device does two things:

So in rooms with standard 100%/75%/50%/25% scenes, all you need to do is create a "Five Level room state bridge" and move it to the room you want to see and control via matter. If the scenes in the room have non-standard levels, just call these scenes in the dSS, manually set the same level in the bridge device, and save the scene.

If you change the button function to an area button, the bridge will mirror the area state (on or off) instead of the entire room. The "on-off" bridge device just maps off and on scenes, but not preset2..4.

What about certification?

The current beta version is not certified. It sails under the generic TestVendor1 vendor ID (0xFFF1) and uses the SDK bridge_app example's product ID (0x8002), which is basically correct as the p44mbrd application was developed based on the bridge example.

On the long run, plan44 wants to certify this matter bridge. Unfortunately, organisations like the csa-iot are created and run by people familiar with large and huge companies, but mostly quite foreign to the reality of really small companies like plan44 and small volume niche products like the P44-xx devices. So while the technical side (opensource SDK on github) is very accessible and manageable also for tiny shops like plan44, certification and the surrounding paperworks look frightingly expensive and time consuming at this time.

plan44 is trying find cooperation partners for getting the p44mbrd bridge daemon certified. But these are ongoing negotiations - only time can show if matter is not only manageable technically (yes, it is!), but also on the commercial level for a small company.

Will my non-certified bridge setup continue to work when smart home apps are out of beta?

In the case of Apple, the answer is yes! - at least for now, in iOS 16.1. I cannot yet say anything about how the other "oecosystems" will handle this. Apple's decision for iOS 16.1 and the information available right now suggest that the option to allow uncertified accessories by explicitly consenting in a dialog will stay.

But obviously, a beta setup like this, even if it turns out to stay accepted technically for a long time, should not be considered productive, and must not be used yet to provide any functionality which is indispensable in your smart home.

Please also do not expect this beta setup to transition into non-beta without setting up the bridge again from scratch in your smart home system!