This week, Eve Systems announced a new partnership with Samsung that brings the Eve Energy plug’s excellent energy monitoring capabilities to the SmartThings home automation platform. The integration should be live for all users by December 4th.
Eve’s Thread-based smart plug and power meter works with Samsung SmartThings through Matter, but as the Matter standard doesn't yet support energy monitoring, users are limited to basic features like on and off and scheduling. Previously, the only platform that supported energy monitoring on the Eve plug was Apple Home, and then only via the Eve app on iOS. With the SmartThings partnership, Android users can now take advantage of this useful feature. It will also work on iOS in the SmartThings app, giving iPhone users two options.
There are relatively few smart plugs that support energy monitoring, an increasingly useful feature of home automation as more people look to reduce their energy consumption. Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings show energy usage of compatible connected devices — including smart plugs — on their platforms, helping you monitor how much money you’re spending and set up automations to reduce use. Amazon has its Alexa energy dashboard, and Samsung has SmartThings Energy (more on this below).
The Eve Energy is The Verge’s pick for the best smart plug for energy monitoring. With a rating of up to 1,800 watts, it is a good option for controlling and monitoring devices like fans, air purifiers, humidifiers, portable AC units, and lamps. The plug can show you how much power the appliance plugged into it is consuming, as well as keep track of total consumption and cost (if you plug in your rate).
But at $40, it is significantly more expensive than non-energy monitoring plugs, and until now, Eve’s energy monitoring has only worked for iPhone users. While Matter means the plug works on all Matter-compatible platforms, its lack of energy monitoring means the Eve plug is competing with basic $10 plugs on the platform.
Eve is not giving up on Matter here, but as it basically bet the whole company on Thread and Matter, it can ill-afford to wait.
One of the big promises of Matter was that manufacturers wouldn’t have to do extra work to enable compatibility with every different platform. Matter provides a universal language all the platforms can speak. But Matter keeps dragging its feet on adding new features, making it crucial that Eve get its main feature working on all platforms in other ways.
There is no Eve Android app yet, so it can’t offer the additional features through its app (a workaround many companies currently use for Matter’s limitations). Eve is working on an Android app, which was originally planned for 2023 but has been delayed. Eve’s Tim Böth told The Verge they have no updates on its rollout.
Böth also said Eve is “working closely with all platforms to unlock the unique capabilities of Eve devices through the tools and capabilities of each platform.” But there are no announcements regarding compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Eve is not giving up on Matter, but as it basically bet the whole company on Thread and Matter, it can ill-afford to wait (Eve was bought by manufacturing giant ABB in June). “We’re fully committed to Matter and work within the CSA on standardizing features such as energy monitoring that enrich many of the Eve devices available today,” says Böth. “Until these capabilities are available for platform implementation through the Matter specification, we’re of course looking at bringing the unique features of Eve devices to as many customers in the best way as soon as possible.”
SmartThings is a very good place to start, as it offers the most robust smart home energy management platform right now. SmartThings Energy is a powerful feature of the SmartThings app, which the company has been rapidly improving over the last year or two.
The platform was previously limited to Samsung appliances or connected devices that received SmartThings Energy certification. It now works with third-party smart devices, including lighting products, thermostats, and outlets from companies like Wemo, TP-Link Kasa, Aeotec, Ecobee, Sengled, and Resideo (Honeywell).
While the majority of these products don’t report energy usage in the way the Eve plug can, they can be added to SmartThings Energy’s Away mode to turn them off automatically and work with the platform’s Demand Response savings feature. This automates interactions with these programs to turn off appliances and smart plugs and adjust thermostats in response to high grid demand without you having to do any guesswork.
SmartThings Energy’s recently launched AI Energy Mode is one of the more interesting developments in the smart home energy space. It’s a power-saving feature that uses algorithms to weigh laundry loads, set defrost cycles, estimate electricity bills, and detect when a refrigerator door is open or a room temperature dips to help reduce energy use in the home.
AI Energy Mode currently only works with Samsung appliances and TVs, but the company has said it's looking to expand it across compatible SmartThings Energy products. Additionally, Samsung’s role in the Home Connectivity Alliance, which allows appliances from other manufacturers to work in the SmartThings app (and vice-versa), has the potential to open up energy monitoring across brands.
Along with recently announced support for EV chargers and integrations with solar panel manufacturers, SmartThings Energy is one of relatively few open platforms you can use in your home to track, monitor, and automate both energy use and energy production. Energy monitoring and control is one of the more compelling use cases for the smart home as electrification ramps up, which makes Eve’s integration with SmartThings a very smart move for the company.