Aqara Announces New M3 Smart Home Hub with Material

Consumer electronics company Aqara has announced the upcoming launch of its latest Smart Home Hub, the M3 Hub, at CES 2024. The new Hub builds on the features of the previous Hub m2 model, which was the first Matetr-compatible Hub, and supports several new connectivity standards that allow integration with a wide range of smart home devices.

Improved connectivity and interoperability

The m3 Hub adds Thread and Bluetooth support in addition to the Zigbee connectivity of the old Aqara hubs. This allows the new Hub to work with devices using these common IoT communication protocols.

Above all, the m3 Hub also supports Matter – the new interoperability standard for the Smart Home Supported by Google, Amazon, Apple and others. This means that consumers can control matter-enabled devices from Aqara and other brands through the Aqara Home app and the automation platform with the m3 Hub.

Centralized control for the smart home

Positioned as an upgrade for users of existing Aqara Zigbee systems, the m3 Hub provides a migration path to the material without having to replace existing sensors and accessories. It builds on the concepts of the previous Hubs by acting as the central Zigbee coordinator and Hub for The Aqara ecosystem.

The company claims that the M3 Hub was designed as the “cornerstone” of its material-based smart home offering. In addition to interoperability with Matter devices from other manufacturers, the Hub will expose Aqara’s Zigbee products to the Matter protocol. This means that sensors such as the popular Aqara water leakage and temperature sensors are controllable and integrable with the Google, Amazon, and Apple material ecosystems.

Improved processing and reliability

Emphasizing its role as the Center of an automation and control network, the m3 Hub has improved internal processing and storage capabilities. According to Aqara, on-premises automation rules and triggers can run on the hub itself, which reduces dependence on cloud services and improves response times.

The hub also acts as a Border router for thread networks, helping to connect thread devices such as locks and sensors to the Wi-Fi network. And with the integrated dual-band Wi-Fi, Aqara promises reliable connectivity and speed for an increasing number of connected accessories.

Privacy and Flexible Installation features

THE m3 Hub DOES NOT CONTAIN 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 the previous Aqara hubs, the M3 hub can be installed in different orientations using the supplied brackets, screws and adhesive pads. The company retained the infrared blaster capabilities of the M2 Hub, allowing the m3 Hub to control air conditioners and other IR-based equipment.

Extended Aqara Ecosystem

Aqara is taking advantage of the arrival of Matter support to expand its smart home ecosystem, which already includes more than 500 products ranging from sensors to switches, curtain controls to LED strips, etc. The m3 Hub exposes Zigbee products such as the P2 door and window sensor to matter so that they can be controlled via applications and matter platforms.

Availability

The Aqara Hub M3 will be unveiled this week at CES 2023. According to Aqara, the Hub will be shipped worldwide in the second quarter of 2024, allowing consumers to create an object-based smart home ecosystem with Aqara and third-party accessories. The price has not yet been confirmed.

What is matter and why is it important?

The matter is a new interoperability standard for the smart home that aims to counter the fragmentation of the connected home market. It defines a common communication protocol that allows smart home devices such as lamps, sensors, and thermostats to work together seamlessly on all platforms. This means that consumers can choose devices from different brands and control them consistently via their preferred system, be it Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit.

The matter is supported by an alliance of major smart home players such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung SmartThings. Many manufacturers are now starting to launch products compatible with the materials, with wider adoption expected in 2023 and 2024.

What are threaded and border routers?

Thread is a low-power wireless network protocol optimized for connecting IoT devices. It supports mesh networks that allow devices to connect, as well as a router or a central Data hub. This eliminates the need for each device to be within range of the hub.

As a border router, the m3 Hub coordinates the thread network. It represents the bridge between the threaded mesh network used by the devices and the home Wi-Fi network. This ensures reliable connectivity and minimizes dropouts when users move around their homes.

In summary, the Aqara Hub m3 aims to be the heart of the smart home. With its range of wireless connectivity, its support for matter and its integration with popular voice assistants, Aqara positions the new Hub as a controller for a modern and flexible connected home.

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