This week’s show is full of both good news and bad news, starting with Google apparently dropping software update support for third-party smart displays. We question Google’s commitment to the smart home, even though the good news from Google is that it has released more capabilities to control new device types — a bit of good news. Then we review Nanoleaf’s Matter-enabled Essentials light bulbs and strips and are a bit worried about what it means for Matter. If you’re putting these bulbs in your smart home, you’ll need the Nanoleaf app and can only control them on one hub ecosystem based on our testing. That’s not what Matter was designed to do! In more bad news, Samsung SmartThings deleted a bunch of hubs on April 5, and we suggest some alternative options if you’d like to switch platforms. Digital privacy rules are getting more attention and I think smart medical device implants represent a tipping point. In generative AI news, Siemens and Microsoft are bringing AI to factories and we explain how they might work, while the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has a request for comment out on auditing AI. You have until June 10 to submit comments. The CSA has announced the launch of Zigbee Pro 2023 with better security features and a new transmission band. Finally, we answer a listener question about bringing smart charging his Tesla with his solar panels.
Our guest this week is Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading Ltd. and co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Upton explains why Sony Semiconductor has made an undisclosed investment in the Pi Trading company. He also details the end of the supply chain challenges for the PI and says customers should see the shortage of Pis end in the second quarter (which is now). We also talk about why Raspberry Pi won’t get ML accelerators or smarter sensors on the board, what the industrial world is doing with Pis, and when we might see a Pi 5. We close with thoughts on RISC-V and future custom Pi designs. It’s a great interview.
Lawrence K says
Considering all the problems Kevin has had with other Matter devices, I have to take his experiences with nanoleaf’s new devices with a pound of salt.
JD Roberts says
Excellent episode! A couple of small technical notes:
1) Since SmartThings is nothing if not variable, a year after they announced they would no longer be selling SmartThings-branded hubs, they came out with a brand new SmartThings-branded hub, “the station,“ which is being described as a Matter hub. It has Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and thread support. No Zwave. And lots of special features for people with galaxy devices.
(To my eye, it looks like an inexpensive hub designed for people who already have a Samsung smart television or appliance, a galaxy phone, and want to add some thread devices.)
2) the zigbee announcement did not in any way imply that Bluetooth will subsume Zigbee. As Kevin noted, this is mostly about onboarding. Using Bluetooth to start the onboarding process has been pretty common in IOT for the last five or six years: Wink did it, SmartThings still does it, there are some more. Lots of camera systems do it. This just makes that idea part of the Zigbee standard. The reason for doing it this way is because your phone doesn’t have Zigbee so when a Home Automation system has a really nice app it makes it easier for a non-techie customer to start onboarding a zigbee hub because the brand new device can talk to the phone app before the hub is even set up. So you get information and instruction and some diagnostics while you are doing the onboarding. But once onboarding is complete, you use Zigbee for all the usual reasons you use zigbee. (Better speed, more reliability, bigger networks, etc)
This new part of the specification is called “Zigbee direct” (meaning communucate directly to a phone/smart speaker that doesn’t itself have a Zigbee radio.) You can read all about it here:
Our hub was one of the impacted Samsung devices. How bad can a company be to not have backups? They left us high and dry. All devices and logic that I had built over 10 years was gone.
Many of us wanted to switch when Samsung bought Smartthings, but it’s such a chore to set everything up all over again.
I switched to Hubitat and haven’t looked back.
What’s happened at SmartThings is pure insanity. The entire initiative to retire Groovy was handled incredibly poorly. I jumped ship last fall and I’m very glad I did.