The upcoming Matter smart home standard has been the hot topic of every smart home company’s developer and news conferences this year. The 2021 Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) was no different. Samsung announced that Samsung TVs, Family Hub refrigerators, Galaxy devices, and SmartThings Hubs will all act as Matter controllers. These products will bring any Matter certified device into the SmartThings ecosystem for seamless device setup and use. SmartThings Hub software will be built into future versions of the TVs and fridges. Physical SmartThings hubs will get a Matter firmware update in 2022, including SmartThings Edge for local automation capability. Additionally, Samsung has joined the Thread board of directors and pledges to support the Thread protocol in the future. However, there’s no word yet on whether that includes enabling existing Thread radios in the v3 and Aeotec Hubs.
As always, the devil’s in the details, and there are some technical bits from the developer conference we need to mention to get the full picture. Notice we said future Samsung TVs and refrigerators. The only currently existing products that will get a Matter update are the SmartThings hubs. It’s also worth noting that Samsung is integrating Matter as a controller. That means Samsung products will not be exposed to other Matter controllers and a SmartThings hub will not act as a Matter bridge. No Samsung TV, soundbar, Zigbee, or Z-Wave device will be exposed to other Matter controllers like Apple HomeKit.
That “Hub” being built into future Samsung TVs and fridges? The hub label is a misnomer [and this REALLY grinds our gears]. It doesn’t have any smart home radios like Thread, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. It’s purely a Matter bridge to the SmartThings cloud.
News for the Nerds
There was also some non-Matter news that caught our attention at the conference. Here’s a quick-fire list of some other newsworthy topics:
- Routine Creator. Samsung has seen the need for automation functionality that is more complex than the included mobile app capabilities but doesn’t require writing raw JSON in the Rules API. So they plan to release a web-based Routine Creator beta to help customers build complex automations with the Rules API. This is great news for power users that want complex local automations but don’t want to write code. These Routines will also be shareable via a 6 digit code. If you’re currently a WebCoRE user, pay close attention to this.
- Rules API. Local support for remains and greater than conditions coming in the future. For example, “No motion for X minutes” or “Temperature rises above X degrees” will run locally in the future.
- SmartThings Build. Samsung has been pushing into the new-home builder and multi-tenant space since SDC 2019. It’s clearly an incentive to sell Samsung appliances. They now have official APIs and tools so companies can build programs to manage Samsung Appliances and other SmartThings devices in multi-tenant buildings, make pre-built smart homes, etc. Sadly no mention of something like Airbnb integration.
- SmartThings Find. This now has an SDK, so third party companies can add devices to the SmartThings Find network. This even includes button functionality to run automations.
- SmartThings Energy. This is opening up to work with more SmartThings partners and energy data aggregators.
- Bixby Home Studio. Samsung has built a tool, via Node-RED, where you can program any custom Bixby command to context-aware SmartThings device actions. This looks like an extension of their Node-RED integration into Samsung Automation Studio.
- ST Framework SDK. This will allow Galaxy app developers to integrate SmartThings devices into their own Galaxy mobile apps. For example. developers can create their own version of the standard Galaxy alarm, calendar, and weather apps that control devices.
An Overall Win for Samsung and SmartThings Customers
SmartThings continues to evolve under Samsung. Matter integration into popular Samsung products is a step in the right direction for everybody. Most importantly, it is a fantastic way to make the smart home easier to use and a big win given Samsung’s TV popularity. And new features like Routine Creator and SmartThings Edge will appeal to power users looking for a simple way to go all-in on home automation. So if you’re planning a complete smart home, we still recommend a dedicated hub. Stay tuned to the DMZ for any future SmartThings news.