Matter, the smart home interoperability protocol, has arrived and is poised to revolutionize smart home automation with increased security and options.
Matter is a cutting-edge smart home platform that utilizes Internet Protocol (IP) networking to connect devices. Developed through a collaboration of major tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Comcast, Google, Samsung, Signify, and many others.
Matter aims to decrease the fragmentation in the smart device market and enhance security and dependability. This implies that you will be able to purchase compatible devices without spending a lot of time researching.
Although Matter does not replace existing smart home platforms like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, and others, it creates a standard language that allows them to work together and share control over your devices.
No More Compatibility Issues
Compatibility issues have always been a major obstacle in the widespread adoption of smart home technology. It limits the options when purchasing products and prevents you from getting the full potential out of your smart home. While this model is manageable for enthusiasts and experts, it can be confusing for the average consumer.
Matter intends to change the way you perceive smart home technology:
- Purchasing new smart devices will not come with as many compatibility difficulties.
- Controlling devices using a single app will be more convenient.
For instance, Google Nest devices, such as the Google Nest Thermostat, do not natively support Apple HomeKit, which means that you cannot control them using Siri or the Apple Home app. With Matter, your Nest device now has access to Apple’s advanced smart home platform for the first time.
Matter Governing Body And Wireless Technologies
Matter, an IP-based protocol, aims to facilitate the cooperation of existing smart home ecosystems rather than replacing them. While Matter is an open-source platform that can be used by any device manufacturer, it must join the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) – the governing body of Matter – and submit products to authorized testing labs as part of a certification program.
In terms of hardware, Matter functions using one or more wireless technologies:
- Wi-Fi, which is present on almost every computer and smartphone, is a natural choice for wireless communication between Matter devices and the internet if necessary.
- Ethernet uses a wired connection and offers many of the same benefits as Wi-Fi.
- Thread is a low-power smart home protocol that creates a mesh network between devices, similar to Zigbee. Thread is suitable for battery-powered devices.
How To Use Matter Devices
Matter devices that utilize Wi-Fi and Ethernet do not require a hub to communicate, but a Matter controller is still needed for setup. Although “Matter controller” sounds like a hub, it is simply any compatible device used to set up and control your devices, such as a smartphone or smart speaker.
A Thread border router is required if your Matter device uses Thread. This can be any Thread device that connects to Wi-Fi and has a constant power source. (Thread devices that use batteries, such as sensors and smart locks, stay inactive when they are not sending status reports or receiving commands.)
It is not mandatory that a Matter controller and a Thread border router must be different devices. After the launch of Matter, devices like Nest Hub (2nd Gen), Apple HomePod Mini, and Amazon Echo (4th Gen) can function as both.
Not all smart home products will have Matter support immediately, for example, security cameras and robot vacuums will not be included until a future version. Currently, Matter supports the following device types:
- Lighting and electrical
- HVAC controls
- Window coverings and shades
- Safety and security sensors
- Door locks
- Media devices, including TVs
- Controllers (both devices and applications)
Existing Devices Support
Any smart home device that utilizes Wi-Fi, Thread, or Ethernet has the potential for Matter compatibility. It depends on which brands choose to pursue Matter certification. Once certified, brands can update the device’s firmware to include Matter support.
Matter is significant enough that you will likely receive an email or notification if your device receives certification. Brands such as Amazon, Google Nest, and Samsung SmartThings have confirmed that Matter support will be coming to existing devices.
It is likely that many recent products will eventually support Matter, as it may be simpler and more cost-effective to certify an existing product instead of designing a new one. For example, Google plans to add Matter functionality to the original Google Home smart speaker, which was first released in 2016.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) released the Matter 1.0 standard and launched the product certification program in October 2022. Both new and existing products that wish to offer Matter compatibility must obtain certification before they can add support.
It is not known how long the device certification process will take, but it is expected that the first products with the Matter logo will be available by Spring 2023.