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Level locks had a secret Thread radio this whole time

Level locks had a secret Thread radio this whole time


A firmware update will bring Matter to all of Level’s locks, making them interesting outside the Apple Home ecosystem.

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Photo of the Level Lock Plus in satin nickel installed on a door. The door is ajar, and the deadbolt is extended.
The Level Lock Plus and Level’s other locks will soon work with many more smart home platforms.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Level’s entire lineup of Bluetooth smart locks — best known for hardly looking like smart locks at all — have had hardware support for Thread this whole time and will soon be updated to support Matter over Thread. You love to see it.

Level’s smart locks, which include the Bolt, Lock, Lock Touch, and the just-reviewed Lock Plus with Home Key, are clever and discreet — the Bolt fits entirely within the cutout of your existing deadbolt. But they were Bluetooth-only, and smart home integration and out-of-home control were limited to Apple Home (with a Bluetooth connection to a HomePod Mini or Apple TV) and Ring (if connected to a Sidewalk Bridge like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro). With such limited platform support, Level’s locks have been pretty niche.

But they won’t stay that way. Via email, Level’s co-founder and CTO Ken Goto told The Verge that “all Level Locks are 100% hardware compatible with Matter” and that the 2.4GHz radios inside each Level lock will be upgraded to support Matter over Thread. Goto did not provide a timeline for when this update would be available.

That update means that Level’s locks will no longer be limited to Apple Home and Ring. As long as you have a Thread border router, they’ll work with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and any other Matter-compatible smart home controller. If I can wax rhapsodical for a second, this is exactly what Matter was supposed to do for the smart home, and I’m jazzed that Level is taking advantage of it. Assuming Matter actually works, of course — we have yet to see how it does outside of controlled demos. 

This makes Level the third company (by my count) to announce Thread-over-Matter smart locks. Schlage locks like the Encode Plus have Thread already and will support Matter, while Yale is bringing Thread over Matter to its Assure 2 locks via interchangeable networking modules. Others are doubtless on their way; The Verge’s Jennifer Pattison Tuohy and Thomas Ricker are reporting from Matter’s official launch in Amsterdam this week and have probably seen things I couldn’t even imagine.