I'm just starting my smart home journey and have been investigating. I prefer open and no vendor lock-in solutions and think Matter will be the solution for me, with Thread being a protocol heavily discussed wrt to it.
What is Matter
Matter is a new smart home interoperability protocol launched as a joint effort by a handful of the industry's biggest players. Over 170 companies are involved, with Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Google and the Zigbee Alliance being the most prominent names.
So, why did they do it - what's the point? Well, the smart home in its current form is a little messy.
Customers need to make sure dedicated hubs can link up with the right peripheral devices, and also make decisions over which devices work for their home based on which assistant and ecosystem they're already embedded in.
It's the equivalent of not being able to shift between a games console to play the same game, or being trapped into a music streaming platform because of your built-up library.
The smart home is a friendlier battlefield than those areas, though, which is why these companies have decided to make the whole system easier for both manufacturers and consumers.
The goal of Matter, then, is to be an interoperability protocol with standard data models that ensure smart home devices can work across different ecosystems. So, an Amazon Echo Show display should hypothetically be able to work as seamlessly with a Google Nest doorbell as it does with its own Ring offerings, for example.
What is Thread?
In simple terms, Thread is a low-power wireless radio protocol for the smart home that allows devices to 'talk' directly to each other.
Unlike Zigbee and Z-Wave, Thread creates a mesh network by making each device in your arsenal an access point.
So, rather than each individual device requiring communication with one hub-like access point, this shares the responsibility more evenly. Each Thread-enabled device will essentially be able to act as a mini-hub, which also means you don't have to deal with third-party hubs, such as the Philips Hue Bridge or fourth-generation Amazon Echo.
But there is bugger-all available in Australia. The first thing I want to wire in are smart switches. There is Eve - https://www.evehome.com/en/eve-light-switch, but it is only available in Europe (at least isn't available in Australia).
(I don't like the idea of smart lights due to the waste of having a disposable network device).
Zigbee is part of the Matter standard so i thought they might be a good way to go that (if chosen well) will be compatible with a Matter system.
I see there is a EPS32-H2 SOC - https://hackaday.com/2021/08/04/new-part-day-an-esp-with-zigbee/ that sounds promising. Since it has built-in IEEE 802.15.4 to support ZigBee 3.x and Thread 1.x.
I'm looking for confirmation that it would be sensible for me to invest in a Zigbee 3 hub and devices that will be compatible with Matter once that is established? Perhaps there are things to look for or avoid?
I'm all ears!