Matter and Zigbee – how do they fit together?
At first glance some people might be tempted to think that Matter would be a replacement technology for Zigbee. It is not. For many reasons. At ubisys, we see Matter as a complementary protocol next to, or, on top of, Zigbee; simply put, an extrapolation of Zigbee to the IP world, extending the reach of the level of interoperability that Zigbee has been providing within the boundaries of its wireless mesh network further, to the next tier. This is, and always has been: IP. Matter provides an over-arching framework to consolidate and defragment the diverse set of IoT devices, which were based on a mingle-mangle of proprietary, semi-proprietary, or standardized protocols that have flourished over the past decade or two, each tapping into a specific limitation of existing solutions.
It will not replace Zigbee simply because it does not address all its existing use cases. The ubisys Zigbee stack has been specifically designed to support highly scalable and secure ultra-low power, low-latency, and high-performance wireless mesh networks. It allows to control large groups of actuators, for instance lights, with superfast response times and without the “popcorn effect” that would occur without robust and instant multicast capabilities. Zigbee also provides direct device-to-device communications without a single point of failure and even without any pre-existing WiFi or Ethernet home network, which is an important aspect when installing building infrastructure while the building is still in an early construction stage and no internet or at least local WiFi and Ethernet connectivity exists.
Furthermore, with Zigbee Direct an entirely new way of working with Zigbee networks is available now. As ubisys has demonstrated at Light + Building 2022, the ability to connect with your smart phone to an entire Zigbee mesh without requiring a hub, border router, or another ancillary device is remarkable. Start simple and leverage Zigbee’s potential to scale up to deployments with thousands of nodes in a fully-fledged lighting management system using IP-connected gateways.
With Zigbee Green Power, there is an award-winning technology available for maintenance-free sensors and switches that have no batteries and no power cords. These devices harvest kinetic, solar, or thermal energy from the ambience – enough to send wireless messages and have the mesh propagate these to all the devices that act on the information provided by these sensors and switches. Building such maintenance-free devices is not possible with an end-to-end IP protocol in the foreseeable future due to the associated protocol overheads.
Whether or not other transport technologies can achieve the same level of energy efficiency, performance and resilience in harsh wireless environments remains to be seen.
We have developed an extremely powerful bridge that converges the two technologies and combines the best of both worlds: Say hello to ubisys Conflux – where Zigbee meets Matter!
The first commercially available product with inbuilt Conflux technology is our flagship ubisys G1 Zigbee Gateway. This versatile gateway already combined multiple bridging technologies, e.g., an Alexa Smart Home Skill integration, a bridge to Apple Home on the iPhone and iPad, optional Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) IoTivity interworking and integrations into custom clouds for commercial and industrial markets. With the addition of Conflux, the G1 is now also offering a fully-fledged, one-of-a-kind Matter bridge, seamlessly integrated into our customers’ systems. This underlines the sustainable approach ubisys has always taken to protect customers’ investments into first-rate ubisys Zigbee components. We have taken it a step further, and, unlike other bridge vendors, we do not artificially restrict bridging capabilities to just ubisys-branded products. Instead, we also bridge third-party sensors and other devices that comply to Zigbee standards. This provides a lot of choice to consumers and enterprises who can pick from an enormous pool of Zigbee products readily available on the market. The ubisys G1 is one of the first products that has attained Matter certification and was featured at the official Matter Launch Event early November 2022 in Amsterdam.
Are you a hub or gateway manufacturer? Then consider licensing our Conflux technology for integration into your products. Turn your hub into a Zigbee/Matter bridge in no time! This is even true if your hub does not have an IEEE 802.15.4 radio at all. Because, when combined with another ground-breaking technology, Zigbee Direct, any device that has Bluetooth Low Energy Central capabilities can connect to a Zigbee Direct device via a Bluetooth Low Energy link and manage an entire Zigbee network. Conflux Direct is a version of Conflux that comes bundled with a Zigbee Virtual Device and connects via any Zigbee Direct device to an entire Zigbee network, including traditional Zigbee devices with “just” an IEEE 802.15.4 radio.