The new Matter standard has gotten off to a slow start, no question about it. But if you want to be reminded of what Matter promised to smart home users in the first place, try this trick: add your WiZ lights, which can now be used with Matter, to Apple’s Home app.
WiZ’s smart products have long been restricted to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home as far as smart home integrations are concerned.
That was a shame for HomeKit users, given that the manufacturer (which is owned by the same company as the Philips Hue brand) makes some nifty smart lights, including the WiZ Linear Light bars and the Mobile Portable Light.
But most of WiZ’s recent smart lights are now compatible with Matter, the new smart home standard that promises to make compatible smart devices work across a wide range of smart home ecosystems, including Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit.
All that was needed was for WiZ to pull the switch on Matter integration in its WiZ v2 app, and that’s finally happened.
Now, if you browse to the Settings tab on the WiZ app and tap Integrations, you’ll see a Matter tile right at the top. Tap that Matter tile, and you’ll see all the WiZ lights that are eligible to work with Matter.
Select a device, and assuming its firmware has been recently updated, you can copy its Matter pairing code from the WiZ app, and then tap Start Setup to put the light into pairing mode. (I got an error message the first time I tapped Start Setup for each of my WiZ lights, but the process worked after a second tap.)
Once that’s done, you can open the Apple Home app, select the Add Accessory option and tap “More options,” and boom–you should see your selected WiZ light, just waiting to be added.
The WiZ lights jumped into Apple Home without any issues, and soon they were working in perfect harmony with other lights in my HomeKit setup, including those from Philips Hue and Nanoleaf.
The whole experience offers a glimpse into the promise of Matter, which debuted last fall but has encountered plenty of speed bumps along the way.
So far, only a few Matter-enabled devices have hit the market, while smart home brands such as Belkin’s Wemo and Philips Hue have tapped the brakes on their Matter plans (although the latter will hopefully have a Matter update ready soon).
There’s also a frustrating number of caveats with the various Matter-compatible platforms, with Amazon and Google yet to release Matter-ready versions of their respective iOS smart home apps, while Amazon’s Alexa can only do Matter over Wi-Fi, meaning Thread-dependent devices like those from Eve (which just released its own Matter updates) won’t work–yet–with Alexa.
Then there’s the fact that the initial Matter spec only supports certain categories of smart home products, including smart lights, thermostats, door locks, TVs, window shades, security sensors, and streaming video players. That means security cams, robot vacuums, and garage door controllers, among other big smart home categories, will have to wait.
But adding WiZ lights to HomeKit with the help of Matter offers a glimpse of how the Matter standard should–and hopefully will–work once all the kinks get worked out.