Matter 1.2 Update Offers More Smart Categories

Today, The CSA released an update for the Matter standard for manufacturers, bringing a slew of new categories to the smart home, albeit with some already existing in legacy platforms. A total of nine categories have been added to the existing ones, which now allows companies to deploy Matter into the following product lines;

  • Refrigerators (which would also include freezers)
  • Air Conditioners (standalone or fitted)
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines (dryers will be supported later)
  • Robot vacuums
  • Smoke/CO alarms *
  • Air quality sensors *
  • Air Purifiers *
  • Standing fans *

* already supported in HomeKit

  • Refrigerators – Beyond basic temperature control and monitoring, this device type is also applicable to other related devices like deep freezers and even wine and kimchi fridges.
  • Room Air Conditioners – While HVAC and thermostats were already part of Matter 1.0, stand alone Room Air Conditioners with temperature and fan mode control are now supported.
  • Dishwashers – Basic functionality is included, like remote start and progress notifications. Dishwasher alarms are also supported, covering operational errors such as water supply and drain, temperature, and door lock errors.
  • Laundry Washers – Progress notifications, such as cycle completion, can be sent via Matter. Dryers will be supported in a future Matter release.
  • Robotic Vacuums – Beyond the basic features like remote start and progress notifications, there is support for key features like cleaning modes (dry vacuum vs wet mopping) and additional status details (brush status, error reporting, charging status).
  • Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms – These alarms will support notifications and audio and visual alarm signalling. Additionally, there is support for alerts about battery status and end-of-life notifications. These alarms also support self-testing. Carbon monoxide alarms support concentration sensing, as an additional data point.
  • Air Quality Sensors –  Supported sensors can capture and report on: PM1, PM 2.5, PM 10, CO2, NO2, VOC, CO, Ozone, Radon, and Formaldehyde. Furthermore, the addition of the Air Quality Cluster enables Matter devices to provide AQI information based on the device’s location.
  • Air Purifiers – Purifiers utilise the Air Quality Sensor device type to provide sensing information and also include functionality from other device types like Fans (required) and Thermostats (optional). Air purifiers also include consumable resource monitoring, enabling notifications on filter status (both HEPA and activated carbon filters are supported in 1.2).
  • Fans –Matter 1.2 includes support for fans as a separate, certifiable device type. Fans now support movements like rock/oscillation and new modes like natural wind and sleep wind. Additional enhancements include the ability to change the airflow direction (forward and reverse) and step commands to change the speed of airflow. 

From the outset, it’s important to note that whilst these are supported categories, some features will still require the relevant companies’ own apps. This would especially be the case with robot vacuums, where floor mapping wouldn’t be a supported feature in Apple Home, for example.

It should also be stated that simply because your home has a robot vacuum, getting it updated to support Matter is less likely to happen unless it is a very recent model capable of supporting the relevant firmware update.

On this note, it’s almost certain that newer versions of devices you might own will be debuting next year (at CES 2024 no doubt) with Matter emblazoned everywhere.

On the subject of devices already supported in Apple HomeKit, when it comes to sensors, it would seem the will be a wider variety of them covered via Matter, like ozone, for example. Some of the air quality measurements are already covered in a general way with VOC sensors that already exist, so formaldehyde would be covered under VOCs, although it would be interesting to see that separated out from general readings.

The real boost from this update probably lies with the first four categories listed, where previously, HomeKit users had to get quite inventive when it came to being notified of the end of a washing cycle, with Aqara vibration sensors being one workaround.

It’s good news, although why cameras and video doorbells are still not mentioned, is a mystery…

The Editor

Editor - Musician, graphic designer and HomeKit aficionado.

3 thoughts on “Matter 1.2 Update Offers More Smart Categories

  • How does matter updates work?
    I’m assuming Apple needs to push updates for HomeKit. If ecosystems have to update, does this mean we could see some supporting matter 1.2 sooner than others?
    I can see this getting messy real quick.

    • I suspect that some categories that are yet to exist (or those that have been announced) may already be part of iOS17, so it would then be down to the manufacturer to simply make the device in question Matter compatible. As for ecosystems updating at different times, this has already been the case, unfortunately, with Alexa not supporting hubs/bridges or window coverings (curtains, blinds etc) when they went live with Matter support. It seems Apple really is the only platform on top of things at present.

  • They also announced the “Ecosystem to Ecosystem” effort that is intended to make including Matter devices in multiple ecosystems less painful. I hope it bears fruit.

    Omitting mapping from robot vacuum support feels like a strange choice. Maybe my family’s usage is unusual, but there is not ever a time when we start the Roomba without telling it which areas to go to.

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