Aqara ces 2024 thread border plug

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Following on from the announcement of the Aqara Hub M3, which is one of the most advanced smart home hubs on the market with Matter, Thread, and Zigbee support, Aqara has also announced two additional smart home devices at CES 2024.

Border Router Plug First to Add Thread Support

The headline product launch was Aqara’s Border Router Plug, one of the first smart plugs with built-in Thread Border Router capabilities. There are currently only a limited number of Thread Border Routers available, and these will be essential for a reliable Thread mesh network to control all your Thread-capable smart home devices.

With Thread and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, this allows Matter controllers without native Thread to connect and control Thread-based devices.

This eliminates the need to purchase a separate Matter controller to link Thread devices into existing systems. For example, those using Amazon Alexa or Google Home could manage new Aqara or third party Thread products without replacing their current hubs.

The plug includes real-time energy monitoring to track consumption and standby power draw is minimised when running Thread-only. This helps conserve electricity when routing data from connected Thread devices.

Integrations can also leverage the plug’s on/off status sensing. If the plug is powering a TV, Aqara Home automations could trigger lights dimming or curtains closing when the TV turns on.

The plug uses an NXP Semiconductors chipset for enhanced security, with NXP also showcasing Aqara’s new sensor in its CES booth.

Smart Lock U300 First Matter and Thread Compatible Lever Lock

Aqara also previewed its Smart Lock U300, one of the first smart lever locks with both Matter and Thread support. This enables interoperability between various platforms, while maintaining local control for reduced latency and enhanced security compared to fully cloud-based models.

With a battery life up to 8 months between charges, the U300 is suitable for indoor and outdoor usage. It replaces a traditional internal lever on single-bore doors, aimed at side or garage entries, basements or home offices.

The lock provides keyless access through fingerprints, PIN codes, NFC cards or integration with voice assistants. Users can manage access remotely, view activity history and assign temporary credentials.

Home Copilot App Update Brings AI Assistance

On the software side, Aqara demonstrated the Home Copilot update for their app, introducing conversational AI capabilities powered by Gen-AI technology. Home Copilot aims to provide ambient intelligence using usage patterns and data to automatically suggest personalised home automations.

Users can create automations by voice or text instead of adjusting multiple settings. For example, saying “when I arrive home after 7pm have the lights turn on” will configure the appropriate triggers and actions. This helps simplify smart home configuration.

Home Copilot also enables Aqara Insights, delivering reports on smart home usage and tailored suggestions to save energy. It even facilitates customer support queries in 10 languages using natural language conversations.

The Border Router Plug and Smart Lock U300 join Aqara’s growing Matter device portfolio. Pricing and availability details will be announced over the coming months. But the innovations on show at CES 2024 demonstrate Aqara’s commitment to interoperable and user-friendly smart home technology.

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