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Consumer electronics company Aqara has announced the upcoming launch of its latest smart home hub, the Hub M3, at CES 2024. The new hub builds on the capabilities of the previous Hub M2 model, which was their first Matetr-enabled hub, and adds support for multiple new connectivity standards, enabling integration with an expanded range of smart home devices.
Enhanced Connectivity and Interoperability
The Hub M3 incorporates Thread and Bluetooth support in addition to the Zigbee connectivity offered by earlier Aqara hubs. This allows the new hub to interoperate with devices using these popular IoT communication protocols.
Crucially, the Hub M3 will also support Matter – the new smart home interoperability standard backed by Google, Amazon, Apple and others. This means consumers will be able to control Matter-compatible devices from Aqara and other brands through the Aqara Home app and automations platform using the Hub M3.
Centralised Control for the Smart Home
Positioned as an upgrade for those with existing Aqara Zigbee-based systems, the Hub M3 provides a migration path to Matter without needing to replace existing sensors and accessories. It builds on the concepts of the earlier hubs by acting as a central Zigbee coordinator and hub for the Aqara ecosystem.
The company says the Hub M3 has been designed as the “cornerstone” for its Matter-based smart home offering. As well as interoperating with Matter devices from other manufacturers, the hub will expose Aqara’s Zigbee products to the Matter protocol. This means sensors like the popular Aqara water leak and temperature sensors will be controllable and integratable with Matter ecosystems from Google, Amazon and Apple.
Enhanced Processing and Reliability
Underlining its role as the centre of an automation and control network, the Hub M3 features upgraded internal processing capabilities and storage. Aqara says local automation rules and triggers can run on the hub itself, reducing reliance on cloud services and improving response times.
The hub also acts as a border router for Thread networks, helping to bridge Thread devices like locks and sensors with the Wi-Fi network. And with dual-band Wi-Fi built in, Aqara promises reliable connectivity and throughput for an increasing number of connected accessories.
Features for Privacy and Flexible Installation
The Hub M3 does not contain any cameras, microphones or other components that could compromise privacy. Aqara also states that data such as device logs can be stored locally on the hub with end-to-end encryption.
Like previous Aqara hubs, the Hub M3 can be installed in various orientations using included mounts, screws and adhesive pads. The company has retained the infrared blaster capabilities of the Hub M2, allowing the Hub M3 to control IR-based air conditioning units and other appliances.
Expanded Aqara Ecosystem
Aqara is using the arrival of Matter support to expand its smart home ecosystem, which already contains over 500 products ranging from sensors to switches, curtain controllers, LED strips and more. The Hub M3 will expose Zigbee products like the Door and Window Sensor P2 to Matter, allowing them to be controlled through Matter apps and platforms.
The Aqara Hub M3 will be showcased at CES 2023 this week. Aqara says the hub will ship globally in Q2 2024, allowing consumers to build out a Matter-based smart home ecosystem using Aqara and third party accessories. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.
What is Matter and Why Does it Matter?
Matter is a new smart home interoperability standard that aims to address the fragmentation in the connected home market. It defines a common communication protocol that allows smart home devices like lights, sensors and thermostats to work together seamlessly across platforms. This means consumers can choose devices from different brands and control them consistently through their preferred system, be it Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit.
Matter is backed by an alliance of the major smart home players including Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung SmartThings. Many manufacturers are now starting to launch Matter-compatible products, with wider adoption expected over 2023 and 2024.
What are Thread and Border Routers?
Thread is a low-power wireless networking protocol optimised for connecting IoT devices. It supports mesh networks allowing devices to connect with each other as well as a central border router or hub. This removes the need for each device to be in range of the hub.
As a border router, the Hub M3 will coordinate the Thread network. It provides the bridge between the Thread mesh network used by devices and the Wi-Fi home network. This helps ensure reliable connectivity, minimising dropouts as users move around their homes.
So, in summary, the Aqara Hub M3 aims to be the centrepiece of the smart home. With its array of wireless connectivity, support for Matter, and integration with popular voice assistants, Aqara is positioning the new hub as the controller for a modern, flexible connected home.
I am James, a UK-based tech enthusiast and the Editor and Owner of Mighty Gadget, which I’ve proudly run since 2007. Passionate about all things technology, my expertise spans from computers and networking to mobile, wearables, and smart home devices.
As a fitness fanatic who loves running and cycling, I also have a keen interest in fitness-related technology, and I take every opportunity to cover this niche on my blog. My diverse interests allow me to bring a unique perspective to tech blogging, merging lifestyle, fitness, and the latest tech trends.
In my academic pursuits, I earned a BSc in Information Systems Design from UCLAN, before advancing my learning with a Master’s Degree in Computing. This advanced study also included Cisco CCNA accreditation, further demonstrating my commitment to understanding and staying ahead of the technology curve.
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