Matter & Thread: the place we’re at

Lots is going on in Residence Assistant round Matter and Thread. It may be arduous to maintain monitor of all of it, so we needed to take a second to write down an replace on the present state, and what we’re planning subsequent.

Abstract:

  • Matter works, together with Thread gadgets by way of Thread border routers from Apple and Google.
  • The Thread border router in Residence Assistant is operational however not built-in till the following launch, Residence Assistant 2023.3.
  • We’ve expanded the documentation for Matter and Thread to cowl most requested questions and embrace movies on learn how to add Matter gadgets to Residence Assistant.
  • Customers utilizing a Residence Assistant Yellow hub can allow an experimental Thread border router.
  • Customers on different techniques can get a Thread Border Router utilizing a Residence Assistant SkyConnect.
  • Asserting SL Web Tools. It permits customers to make use of their browser to replace Zigbee/Thread sticks based mostly on SiLabs chips, just like the Residence Assistant SkyConnect.
  • We’re open sourcing our automated build scripts to create reproducible firmware builds for Zigbee/Thread sticks based mostly on SiLabs chips.

Matter

Matter is a new smart home standard which works locally. Its first release was at the end of last year, and is in the process of being adopted throughout the industry. We’ve been working hard on making it work with Home Assistant.

Today Home Assistant can control the basic operation of most Matter devices. You can add both Wi-Fi and Thread based devices, and the most common device types work. Matter bridges do not work yet – this will be added in Home Assistant 2023.3.

The Matter implementation in Home Assistant is built on-top of the open source Matter SDK developed by members of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). This is the same SDK that powers Matter for Google and Apple products. As a member of this alliance, we are collaborating to further improve this Matter SDK making it a solid base for our Matter support.

Together with this blog post, we’ve released a big update to our Matter documentation. We have added instructions with accompanying videos on how to pair Matter devices with Home Assistant and how to share Matter devices from Apple Home/Google Home to Home Assistant.

Thread

Thread is a low-power mesh networking standard which allows users to connect their devices within a home network. It uses the same RF technology as Zigbee but provides IP connectivity similar to Wi-Fi. Matter supports Thread as a connectivity option for low-power and battery-operated devices.

Together with this blog post, we’ve released an update to our Thread documentation. We explain the different parts that make up a Thread network and how you can create one at home.

Screenshot of a Google prompt if Home Assistant can access network credentials.
Google Android asks if you want to share their Google Thread credentials with Home Assistant.

As users acquire more products with Thread in their home, they might end up with multiple Thread networks. Since a Thread device can only communicate with a single Thread network, it is important to be able to unify your Thread networks.

The goal of the upcoming Home Assistant Thread panel is to allow you to manage your Thread networks and help you to merge them into a single one. This is done in collaboration with the Home Assistant Companion apps, allowing us to synchronize Thread networks between Apple/Google and Home Assistant.

We’ve created a mockup of this panel that you can try out here.

Screenshot of a Thread panel mockup.
Screenshot of the mockup for the Thread panel. Open mockup

{Hardware} to make use of Thread & Matter

Each Matter and Thread are applied sciences which might be getting into mainstream markets. There are lots of transferring components in each applied sciences. We’ve been relying closely on the work achieved by Google, Apple, and different members of the CSA to make these applied sciences accessible to Residence Assistant customers (thanks!).

Google and Apple up to date their merchandise to assist Matter and Thread. Nonetheless, it can be crucial that we are able to function independently. Residence Assistant Yellow and Residence Assistant SkyConnect embrace radio chips which might be able to working Zigbee and Thread on the identical time. We’re engaged on making this multiprotocol assist out there to all Residence Assistant customers.

Home Assistant Yellow

Home Assistant Yellow is our take on a perfect home automation hub. It’s powered by a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4), which you can upgrade if you want more memory. And if you run out of storage, it has space to plug in a hard drive. And it’s open hardware.

Overview of Home Assistant Yellow features.

For radio connectivity, it features a module by Silicon Labs, which is ready up out of the field, to offer Zigbee. With the most recent Residence Assistant 2023.2 launch, it’s potential to show your Residence Assistant Yellow right into a Thread border router. This may be achieved by enabling our experimental multiprotocol assist in Settings -> Hardware and by clicking Configure.

At present, it’s not potential to disable multiprotocol assist as soon as enabled. We will probably be providing a approach to disable multiprotocol assist quickly, permitting customers to rollback in the event that they run into points.

The Residence Assistant Yellow was initially crowd funded in October 2021. We’ve been busy with manufacturing and final month have fulfilled all unique backers and a lot of the pre-orders.

That’s why in the present day, we’re joyful to announce that RaspberryPi.dk will probably be our first distributor, exterior of Crowd Provide, to begin promoting the Residence Assistant Yellow. They’ve already been produced and are at present on a ship on their approach to them. All variants could be pre-ordered on their website.

Extra distributors will comply with as quickly because the chip scarcity permits!

Residence Assistant SkyConnect

Residence Assistant is about alternative. You’re not restricted to working it on official {hardware}, you’ll be able to carry your individual. In actual fact, Raspberry Pi gadgets are by far the most well-liked platform to run Residence Assistant on, however there’s a catch: they lack any good dwelling radio connectivity.

We created the Home Assistant SkyConnect to provide the missing smart home connectivity. It contains a chip from the same family as the Home Assistant Yellow. It is set out of the box to provide Zigbee. With the latest Home Assistant 2023.2 and when using Home Assistant OS, it is possible to turn your Home Assistant SkyConnect into a Thread border router. This can be done by enabling our experimental multiprotocol support in Settings -> Hardware and by clicking Configure.

Picture of a Home Assistant SkyConnect.

Residence Assistant SkyConnect was launched on the finish of 2022 by way of our distributor community (hit “purchase” on our web site). Many distributors bought out straight away however most ought to be receiving new inventory quickly.

Along with in the present day’s weblog publish, we’ve pushed a giant replace to the SkyConnect documentation website, together with tutorials on learn how to migrate from a unique Zigbee stick.

SiLabs multi-flasher & SL Web Tools

It’s our mission to build the Open Home: a smart home that offers privacy, choice, and durability. Part of our efforts is to build tooling that helps other creators to make projects and products to help further the Open Home cause.

As part of this effort, two years ago, we built ESP Web Tools. It revolutionized the DIY firmware world by allowing any ESP32/ESP8266 project to offer an easy web installer on their homepage, allowing users to get started directly from their browser. It has been adopted by all the great projects, including Tasmota, WLED, and ESPresense. Ever because the introduction of ESP Net Instruments, we’ve needed to broaden this to extra gadgets.

At the moment we’re asserting SL Web Tools. It permits customers to handle the firmware on Zigbee/Thread sticks utilizing SiLabs chips immediately from their browser, no terminals or compilation vital. This permits any creator to supply straightforward firmware updates to their customers and make experimental updates out there to check bug fixes shortly.

To see it in motion, SL Net Instruments has been added to the Home Assistant SkyConnect documentation.

SL Net Instruments is powered by our new open supply Python package deal silabs-universal-flasher. We run this within the browser utilizing Pyodide.

Building firmware for Silicon Labs chips

It can be a pain to compile firmware for SiLabs chips. It’s hard to track different versions, your patch sets, and different chips. We’re fans of automation, so we have created an automated build system to create reproducible firmware builds for the Home Assistant Yellow and Home Assistant SkyConnect.

We’re open sourcing this to make it easier for other creators to provide their users with up-to-date firmware. In combination with SL Web Tools, we offer a complete package that empowers other creators to provide their users with the latest firmware updates.

Find the repository on GitHub.