plan44 products and matter
What is matter?
matter is a new SmartHome standard that was officially released in version 1.0 on October 4th. At the official launch event on November 3rd, the first products and firmware updates were announced, some already for December. For the plan44 products beta firmware is already available.
matter is a milestone for the smarthome, especially for the electrical installation industry.
matter is the result of collaboration between many companies, including major players such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung. The standard implements requirements that many users have been asking for a long time:
- I don't want to choose a single "ecosystem" from one company for my SmartHome, but I want to be able to combine different systems.
- My light switches, lamps, blinds, etc. must be connected locally, and work even without an internet connection.
- Whether or not I want to use comfort functions via cloud must be my own decision. If a cloud fails, my house must continue to function.
- I want to be able to continue to use the devices I already have and integrate them into the new matter environment via brigdes.
For the first time, matter consistently implements all these requirements, in open source.
What does matter mean for the plan44 products?
The plan44 products P44-DSB-DEH2/E2 and P44-LC-DE will become a matter bridge through a future firmware update. Devices existing in the P44 (DALI, hue etc.) will thus become additionally available via matter. That means e.g.: controllable via the respective apps and voice assistants: "hey siri, turn on the light in the living room".
And not only that - the P44-DSB digitalSTROM bridges can - via so-called bridge devices - integrate all rooms of a digitalSTROM installation with matter, even those where there are no P44 lights!
What does matter mean for electrical installations?
For the first time, matter makes it possible to provide real SmartHome infrastructure in a building!
If you choose Matter-compatible control electronics, e.g. the P44-LC-DE-Controller, you have on the one hand a modern, flexibly configurable but independently functioning basic infrastructure, e.g. lighting with DALI LED drivers and maintenance-free/battery-free push-buttons for direct operation.
If the users want additional SmartHome functions, they simply connect their SmartHome system of choice, with or without cloud functions, with or without a voice assistant, via matter to the installation, and can build additional smart automation with the devices they bring along.
matter is to the smarthome what the power socket was to electrification 100 years ago - a standard that allows the building-side infrastructure to be easily connected to (and disconnected from) the user-side devices.
When can I try this myself?
Right now! A beta firmware with early matter support can be unlocked for any P44-DSB/LC-xx2 device on request (please specify serial number of the device). To do anything with it, you need to have a corresponding Matter-enabled "ecosystem", e.g. Apple Home is officially Matter-enabled with iOS/tvOS 16.1 - see plan44 Matter Beta Readme for more info on this.
When will matter be available productively for P44 devices?
Of course as soon as possible! But the possibilities are a bit unclear at the moment. A small company like plan44.ch can keep up very well on the technical side with matter thanks to OpenSource - as the well working beta firmware demonstrates (and also contribute to it!).
The certification of products by csa-iot, on the other hand, is tailored to medium and large companies and products with high sales volumes. This means that for small companies it is very expensive and involves a lot of administrative effort. plan44 is currently exploring the possibilities of cooperation around certification. Since the matter certification process itself is also brand new, there will certainly be some changes in the coming months.
In the interview the blog matter-smarthome.de conducted with me, the topic of "Matter and small companies" is discussed in detail.