On our latest IoT Podcast episode, we take a question that Ron left on our IoT Voicemail Hotline. Ron has used various smart home technologies for 30 years; the latest platform in his home is Insteon. With Insteon effectively shutting down its cloud operations, Ron is switching his phone from Android to iOS and is wondering what he should transition: Apple HomeKit, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or something else.
Having made several smart home platform transitions myself, I would recommend Ron to strongly consider HomeKit. That’s my current platform of choice, mainly because of its simplicity, speed, usability, and strict controls around data privacy. Given that Ron is moving his phone to iOS, this is also a fairly logical choice. Had he been staying with Android, my recommendation would be different since HomeKit doesn’t natively work with Android.
Since Ron is replacing most, if not all, of his smart home hardware and devices, I would also suggest he buy only the HomeKit-compatible devices he needs right now. Why? Because we know that the first devices with Matter certification are due out in the fall.
Matter is expected to bring cross-platform compatibility at the application layer to smart home devices. Until that happens, however, only HomeKit devices will work on a HomeKit system. In the near future, however, devices that use radio protocols other than Wi-Fi and Thread will also work with HomeKit. Those will either need a firmware upgrade where possible, or a bridge device to translate Zigbee, Z-Wave or some other wireless protocol to Wi-Fi and/or Thread.
Rather than take a chance on what devices will or won’t be certified, it makes financial sense at this point to stick with HomeKit products for now. And then as other smart lights, locks, doorbells, switches, and sensors gain Matter certification, they can be added to the HomeKit environment.
There have been a few brands that announced Matter support for current and future hardware, so there’s less of a risk in buying those now. Aside from that, I wouldn’t recommend that Ron, or anyone else, make any large investments in smart home gear on the hopes of Matter certification.
To hear Ron’s question, as well as our discussion in full, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: