After a long and protracted period of “will they, won’t they?” when it comes to Matter and Philips Hue, it now seems they’ve finally committed to releasing an official public firmware update for their second-gen Hue Bridge that will allow it to be added to compatible smart home platforms using Matter.
…all Philips Hue users can benefit from the interoperability of Matter via a software update to the Philips Hue Bridge available in September 2023. With the launch of this update, users will see a simplified experience when connecting their Philips Hue system with other Matter-compatible smart home devices and apps.
This won’t make their products Matter compatible in and of themselves – only the Hue Bridge gets that honour, but as pretty much all Hue devices go through a Hue Bridge, they will then be exposed to your smart home ecosystem of choice.
That may seem odd to the uninitiated, given that Hue already works with all the main ecosystems. The difference will only positively affect Google, Amazon, and Samsung users, who currently connect Hue to their smart home via a cloud-based connection. With the Matter update, these users can now connect directly to their smart home without needing a cloud connection. This brings offline functionality and in turn, a speedier connection, as everything remains local.
This doesn’t really impact Apple HomeKit users to any great degree, as devices fed through HomeKit are local by default, although the hub can still ‘act up’ if it can’t connect to Hue’s servers, so it could provide a modest improvement to HomeKit users too.
This all comes on the back of the company’s announcement for IFA, of its new lineup of security devices (referred to as Philips Secure), which centre around cameras for the most part. Knowledge of these has been floating around for a few weeks now, although as they won’t be compatible with Apple Home, at least in the near future, there’s little point in focussing on them for this article. That said, with Matter finally becoming a focus for the company, we may yet see these added to Apple Home Via Matter once cameras are a supported category in the Matter standard. The camera comes in three options and will be available in black or white, like many of their light fittings.
Contact sensors, on the other hand, of which the company has also launched in black and white options, could (and should) be compatible with Apple Home once the Matter update arrives for the Hue Bridge, but we’ll have to see if that comes to pass.