On a recent Internet of Things podcast, we took a voicemail from Michael on our podcast hotline. Michael recently had a bunch of Z-Wave bulbs die on him and he’s thinking to replace them. He wants to know what Matter or Zigbee options are the better choices. He also wants an option that has some network repeater or mesh technology. His approach makes sense. Matter devices are starting to become available and they create a mesh network. Additionally, they provide more flexibility in terms of controlling bulbs with your choice of voice assistant.
For me, this is an easy choice. I’d recommend Michael invest in Philips Hue bulbs and a Philips Hue bridge. In a sense, these provide both radio protocol options. Currently, the communication between the Philips Hue bulbs and bridge uses Zigbee.
However, the bridge is expected to get a firmware update which will add Matter support. Even after that, the bulbs will communicate with the bridge over Zigbee but all other devices will work with the bridge over Matter or Wi-Fi. I think this is really good option to future proof the investment.
I should also note, however, that the bridge update for Matter was expected last month and that didn’t happen. Even so, this solution will provide plenty of stability and range in a smart home.
Stacey reminded me that the new Nanoleaf Essentials Matter product line just launched, so that’s another option. And it doesn’t require the purchase of another bridge, provided you have a Matter home controller.
These vary by smart home platform, but Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and others all have, or will have, fully functional Matter controllers. Michael says he uses Home Assistant in his house, so he can use the new Nanoleaf products with Matter already. And this week, I received review units of these lights so I’ll be following up with my experiences.
Although Michael didn’t mention Wi-Fi bulbs, Stacey thinks they may be another decent option provided you have a robust home wireless network. She suggests looking at the GE Cync product line, which have worked well for me in the past. GE hasn’t shared any plans regarding a Matter update for these lights, although it is possible. Matter is support over both Thread and Wi-Fi networks. But if Matter isn’t a high priority, the stability and low latency of Wi-Fi bulbs may be worth considering.
To hear Michael’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the Internet of Things Podcast below.