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Tier Mobility and Spin lay off 100 more employees • TechCrunch

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Around a year ago, Tier Mobility was winning the shared micromobility game. Fueled by its $200 million Series D fundraise in October 2021, the company went on to acquire three other micromobility operators and a computer vision startup, giving it access to e-bikes — a reach that extended beyond Europe and into the U.S. — and the tech needed to assuage politicians’ fears over safety.

Today, Tier is in the midst of another round of layoffs. As a result of previous restructurings, Tier is laying off around 80 workers, some of whom are under the Nextbike umbrella, to make up for redundancies. Tier had purchased the German bike-share startup in November 2021 to expand its vehicle offerings beyond e-scooters.

Tier said the layoffs announced Wednesday will affect 7% of its overall staff headcount. While some teams will be more affected than others, the restructuring affects employees across the organization.

The most recent staff cuts follow Tier’s decision to let 180 employees go back in August, blaming a poor funding environment and uncertain economic conditions.

The micromobility operator is also reducing the size of its Spin workforce by about 20 employees. Tier originally bought Spin from Ford in March 2022, a move that gave the company widespread access to the U.S. Seven months later, Tier then laid off almost 80 Spin workers and exited Seattle and Canada. The company went on to let go of an additional 30 Spin employees in December when it decided to leave another 10 U.S. cities.

A Tier spokesperson told TechCrunch the company tried to rematch workers from redundant roles with any open roles at Tier and Nextbike to retain as many people as possible.

‘All-out growth mode’ to ‘profitability first’

How did Tier go from being the largest micromobility player in the world to now announcing layoffs every few months? Sure, the macroeconomic climate has affected most tech companies, and Tier is hardly the only micromobility operator to announce staff cuts (lookin’ at you, Bird.) It seems that Tier, like most other tech companies facing hard decisions, was expanding for a pace of economic growth that’s simply not being realized in pre-recession 2023.

Tier CEO and co-founder Lawrence Leuschner said today’s round of layoffs is part of a pivot in the company’s overall strategy, “from all-out growth mode to a ‘profitability first’ mindset.”

The restructuring will include the closure of “a small number of cities where we do not see a path to profitability” due to factors like unfavorable regulatory approaches, said the company. Tier did not say which cities it would exit, but the operator’s future in Paris currently hangs in the balance as the city votes whether or not to renew the permits of Tier, Lime and Dott. However, the city’s strict regulations might just make it unprofitable for Tier to be in Paris at this point.

Tier is also shutting down a number of side projects, like its own vehicle design program and the Tier Energy Network, the company’s plan to place charging stations in retail stores to incentivize riders to swap scooter batteries for rewards. On the other hand, the company will be winding up its monthly scooter subscription service, MyTier.

“Downsizing is challenging for any business and particularly difficult for a company like Spin, which has already made fundamental changes to the business to ensure its long-term future,” said Philip Reinckens, CEO at Spin. “We are confident that the measures to increase revenue while reducing costs via further integration with our parent company will accelerate the company’s path to profitability.”

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Twitter vows to take ‘less severe actions’ against rule-breaking accounts

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Twitter is promising that it’ll take “less severe actions” when disciplining accounts that break its rules; it’ll only suspend Twitter accounts that engage in “severe or ongoing, repeat violations” of its rules. The company also says it’ll be letting anyone appeal suspensions starting February 1st, and that those doing so will be judged using updated standards.

What will Twitter do instead of suspending your account? The “less severe actions” are things that Twitter has been doing for years, such as limiting visibility of a tweet, or telling a user to remove a tweet before they can get back onto the site. Today’s change is that Twitter is promising to reach for those tools more often, instead of going straight for the ban button.

The company also says it’s planning to be more transparent with its enforcement actions, and will be rolling out some unspecified new features to help with that next month. One possible example: CEO Elon Musk promised last year that Twitter would let you know when you’ve been “shadowbanned,” and why.

Today, Twitter also seems to be justifying its decisions to bring those people back to Twitter, saying it “did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated.” That does make it rather odd that Trump’s been let back on, given that Twitter said in 2021 that it permanently suspended the former president “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” However, it’s possible that’s because — like the genesis of the amnesty policy itself — Trump was let back on because Elon wanted him back and decided to poll his own audience.

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Amazon is reportedly making a Tomb Raider TV series written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

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Amazon is developing a TV series based on the Tomb Raider video game franchise with scripts written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Details are light on this new Tomb Raider series, but THR says that while Waller-Bridge will serve as a writer and executive producer, she won’t be starring in the show. The show is apparently still in the development stages, so we probably shouldn’t expect to see it anytime soon.

This new series could be another potentially big video game franchise adaptation for Amazon, which announced in December that it would be making a God of War TV show. But it also marks a further investment from Amazon into the Tomb Raider franchise, as the company will also be publishing the next Tomb Raider game from Crystal Dynamics. Amazon didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Video game adaptations are on something of a hot streak: Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was a hit, while HBO’s The Last of Us was just renewed for a second season after only two episodes. Hopefully, Amazon can bring a similar level of quality as those shows to this new Tomb Raider series. (I never saw the Tomb Raider movies, but my understanding is that they aren’t great.)

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Every device getting Matter support in 2023

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The new Matter smart home standard is finally ramping up, with a number of compatible products available now and many slated to be released in the next few months. We’re keeping tabs on what will work with Matter, the new common language for smart home devices designed to simplify the smart home and make it easier to buy, set up, and use products.

Matter should also help connected gadgets work with each other across platforms and ecosystems, so you won’t have to pick between Amazon Alexa, Apple, and Google when adding smart devices to your home. With Matter, you will be able to control your smart lighting, smart locks, and more simultaneously with any Matter-compatible platform using iOS or Android devices. So, if you have an iPhone and your roommate has a Google Pixel, you can both control all of your smart home devices.

For more details on how Matter will work with each smart home platform, what you will need to get started with Matter, and how Matter actually works, read my explainer, “What Matters about Matter.”

Here, you’ll find a list of Matter-compatible products divided into categories and separated by whether you can buy them now or if they are coming soon. We’ll keep this updated as new information comes out.

Device types that work with Matter in 2023

The Matter standard provides a common language and a set of supported actions for smart home devices. Right now, it only supports a few categories of devices, and only certain features are available for each of those categories — although, depending on which platform you run them on, you may have access to more features on top of the Matter integration.

As of January 2023, the following device categories are supported in Matter: light bulbs and light switches; plugs and outlets; locks; thermostats and other HVAC controllers; blinds and shades; sensors (motion, contact); televisions and streaming video players; wireless access points; and bridges (more on this later).

Home appliances (such as fridges and washing machines) and robot vacuums should be included in a spring 2023 Matter update. Home security cameras, garage door controller sensors, indoor air quality monitors and air purifiers, and smoke and CO detectors are next on the roadmap, according to the CSA, which runs the Matter standard. Also in the works are energy management features and support for ambient motion and presence sensing.

A trio of blue, orange, and yellow Apple HomePod Mini speakers, sitting together on a table.

The HomePod Mini is both a Matter controller and a Thread border router.
Photo by Jennifer Tuohy / The Verge

Matter controllers, Thread border routers, bridges, and Wi-Fi routers

A Matter controller onboards Matter devices to your home network, controls them, manages communications and automations, and facilitates remote access (when enabled). A Matter controller needs to be a device that is always in your home, always powered, and has a Wi-Fi or ethernet connection to your home network.

You’ll need a Matter controller for each smart home platform you plan to use in your home, and every major smart home platform has updated many of its existing smart home controllers with Matter support. Some controllers are also Thread border routers, which you will need if you add any Thread devices to your home. Thread is one of the main wireless protocols Matter can run over.

Matter controllers with Thread border routers

Upcoming Matter controllers with Thread border routers

Matter controllers without Thread

  • Samsung SmartThings Hub v2

New Matter controllers coming in 2023

Matter-enabled smart home apps

To add Matter devices to a smart home ecosystem, you’ll need to use that platform’s smartphone or tablet app. The following smart home apps work with Matter. You can use them to add and control devices as well as set up automations and routines. Matter is also built into the latest versions of Android and Apple’s operating systems, enabling apps to access the local infrastructure required by Matter.

  • Apple Home app on devices running iOS 16.1 or newer
  • Samsung SmartThings app (Android / iOS)
  • Google Home app (Android / iOS)
  • Amazon Alexa app (Android)
  • Eve app (iOS)

Matter updates coming to smart home apps

  • Amazon Alexa app (coming to iOS in spring 2023)
  • Aqara app (coming Q1 2023)
  • Eve app (coming to Android in spring 2023)
  • TP-Link Tapo app (coming 2023)
  • Tuya Smart Life app (coming Q1 2023)* 
  • Wiser app (coming Q1 2023)

*Tuya Smart is an IoT development platform service provider that supports over 446,000 developers with schematics for over 1,100 smart home products, from robot vacuums to smart lights. It already has Matter certification for a number of light bulbs and smart plugs as well as a Matter controller. Brands that use Tuya include Teckin, Gosund, Nooie, Lidl, and Iotty.

Philips Hue Bridge device shown wall-mounted above a table, near a lamp.Philips Hue Bridge device shown wall-mounted above a table, near a lamp.

The Philips Hue Bridge will bring Matter to existing Hue devices, though the devices themselves will not be updated.
Image: Philips Hue

Bridges that will support Matter

Smart home devices that use a bridge, such as Philips Hue smart bulbs, can be “bridged” into Matter so that their connected devices can be controlled in a Matter smart home platform.

As of January 2023, only Apple Home supports Matter bridges. Google, Amazon, and SmartThings confirmed to The Verge this week that bridge support isn’t live yet on their controllers but that they do plan to enable it. So, even if you have a bridge that’s been updated to Matter, the devices connected to it won’t work in Matter until the platform you are using supports bridges. Currently, however, there are no bridges that support Matter without using beta software.

White Google Nest Wifi Pro router on a white table in front of a window.White Google Nest Wifi Pro router on a white table in front of a window.

The Google Nest Wifi Pro works with Matter and Thread.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Wi-Fi routers that will support Thread and Matter

If you have a Matter and Thread-enabled Wi-Fi router, you wouldn’t need any other Matter controller in your home. Amazon (which owns Eero) has said Matter-over-Thread capability will be turned on in its compatible Eero devices this spring. Google routers are already Thread-enabled and work with Matter.

Smart plugs and sensors — such as these Eve devices — are some of the first devices that work with Matter.Smart plugs and sensors — such as these Eve devices — are some of the first devices that work with Matter.

Smart plugs and sensors — such as these Eve devices — are some of the first devices that work with Matter.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Smart devices that will work with Matter

Most companies that have announced Matter devices say they will start shipping in early 2023. New products that are compatible with Matter should have the Matter logo on them (it looks a bit like a stick person wearing bikini bottoms). Many manufacturers are adding Matter support to existing devices with over-the-air firmware updates. Below are the products that either currently support Matter or will in the future, according to the companies.

Smart lights

As of January 25th, 2023, there are no smart light bulbs with Matter support enabled. These are the products with updates to Matter scheduled:

Matter updates coming in 2023

New Matter lights coming 2023

  • Aqara T1 LED light strip (2023)
  • Cync A19 smart bulb (2023)
  • Cync light strip (2023)
  • Eve Flare lamp (Thread, 2023)
  • Govee LED Strip Light M1 (2023)
  • Nanoleaf Matter Essentials A19 light bulb (coming 2023 / Thread)
  • Nanoleaf Matter Essentials GU10 light bulb (coming 2023 / Thread)
  • Nanoleaf Matter Essentials Light Strip (coming 2023 / Thread)
  • Nanoleaf Skylight panels (coming 2023 / also a Thread border router)
  • Schneider Electric smart plug 
  • Sengled Wi-Fi A19 bulb (Q1)
  • TP-Link Kasa and Tapo smart bulbs (2023)
  • Yeelight Cube Smart Lamp (2023)

Smart switches

As of January 25th, 2023, there are no smart switches with Matter support enabled.

Matter updates coming in 2023

  • Eve Light Switch (Thread)
  • Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 600W Dimmer (OTA update early 2023)
  • Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 15A Switch (OTA update early 2023)
  • All Leviton Decora smart Wi-Fi second-gen devices will get OTA updates at a future date

New Matter smart switches coming 2023

Smart plugs

Currently available

  • Eve Energy Thread smart plug (OTA update now, new products March 28th)
  • Meross Matter Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini

New Matter plugs coming 2023

A white motion sensor in front of a cat.A white motion sensor in front of a cat.

The Eve Motion motion sensor can be updated to Matter using a firmware upgrade.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Smart home sensors

Currently available Matter sensors

  • Eve Motion motion sensor (OTA update now, new product March 28th)
  • Eve Door & Window contact sensor (OTA update now, new product March 28th)

Smart home sensors with Matter updates coming

New Matter smart home sensors coming 2023

  • Aqara Door and Window Sensor P2 (coming 2023 / Thread)
  • Aqara Motion and Light Sensor P2 (coming 2023 / Thread)
  • Netatmo Smart Security Sensor (2023 / Thread)
  • TP-Link motion sensor (2023)
A touchscreen keypad on a door.A touchscreen keypad on a door.

The Yale Assure Lock 2 smart lock will get Matter via an upcoming Matter-over-Thread networking module.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Smart door locks

As of January 25th, 2023, there are no smart locks with Matter support enabled.

Smart door locks with Matter updates coming in 2023

  • Level Lock (all models) (Thread)
  • Lockly Flex Touch Pro (OTA update in 2023)
  • Lockly Vision Elite (OTA update in 2023)
  • Lockly Secure Pro (OTA update in 2023)
  • SwitchBot door lock (with SwitchBot Hub 2, Q1 2023)
  • Yale Assure Lock 2 (Thread module, 2023)

New Matter door locks coming in 2023

  • Aqara U100 smart door lock (Q2)

Smart thermostats and heating equipment

As of January 25th, 2023, there are no smart thermostats with Matter support enabled.

Matter updates coming in 2023

  • Eve Thermo smart radiator valve (Thread 2023)
  • Ecobee thermostats (2023) — the company has confirmed its thermostats will support Matter but has not provided any further details
  • Google Nest Thermostat (updating in 2023)

Home appliances / televisions

As of late January 2023, there are no home appliances or televisions that work as Matter devices (some Samsung refrigerators and TVs are Matter controllers, see above). Several manufacturers have promised Matter support in some upcoming and existing products.

Appliances and TVs with upcoming Matter support

Smart shades, blinds, and shutters

Smart window treatments with upcoming Matter support

Other devices that will work with Matter

Adding Matter devices to your smart home is similar to using Apple’s HomeKit platform. Adding Matter devices to your smart home is similar to using Apple’s HomeKit platform.

Adding Matter devices to your smart home is similar to using Apple’s HomeKit platform.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

How to add Matter devices to your smart home

Matter uses numeric and QR setup codes and Bluetooth Low Energy to add a device to your network. Open your smart home platform or device maker’s app, scan the QR code or manually enter the numeric code written on the device, and follow the prompts.

NFC pairing will be an option for some devices, letting you tap the device with your phone. And some platforms will support auto-detection, so your phone will just see there is a device ready to be paired and prompt you to add it. 

Once your device is set up in one platform, you can add it to other apps and platforms using Matter’s multi-admin feature. The process of sharing is similar to onboarding, but you don’t have to have the device in hand, as the app creates a pairing code for you. Once paired to another platform, you can now control that device from both platforms simultaneously.

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