• Technology

Matter Explained: What Makes It The New Standard of Smart Home?

Jun 29, 2022
By Gracey Maala

5 min read

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Year after year, the smart home market keeps on evolving—and upgrading our homes has continuously proven to transform the way we live, work, and play. But, with a lot of tech players in the industry, compatibility issues still arise with the many devices and brands that are available for consumers. Hence, a universal connectivity standard is what the smart home has needed for a long time. Good thing, a solution to that is on its way, as Matter now enters the tech space.

Its mission is simple: Make smart devices work together regardless of brand!

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Matter is a new standard for smart home accessories being developed by global tech-industry players. First unveiled in May 2021, it was identified as the interoperable, secure connectivity standard for the future of the smart home. Matter is a protocol that promises to make all of our smart home devices work together. Sounds promising, right? But, what is it, really? And why does it matter to achieve a more innovative home? Let’s find out more!

What is Matter?

Matter - CSA(1)

From Connectivity Standards Alliance Official Website

Matter is dubbed as a new smart home connectivity standard and the foundation for connected things. Formerly called Project Connected Home over IP or Project CHIP, it is a new Working Group with the Connectivity Standards Alliance. The Matter protocol is being developed as an open-source effort, leveraging proven technologies.

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance, is an organization of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining, and delivering open, global standards for the Internet of Things (IoT). Matter is supported by CSA’s more than 180 members, including tech-industry leaders like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Samsung SmartThings.

According to CSA, Matter is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be “secure, reliable, and seamless to use.” By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), this industry-unifying standard’s goal is to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services, and define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.

Why does it matter?

Matter Update - CSA

From CSA Official Website

Matter is a seal of approval that smart home devices will work seamlessly together, creating more connections between more objects, simplifying development for manufacturers, and increasing compatibility for consumers. Its key technology attributes include simplicity, interoperability, reliability, security, and flexibility given strong Internet connectivity in your home.

Using Matter, smart home accessory manufacturers no longer need to support multiple protocols in parallel, simplifying the development effort of making a product and supporting it on an ongoing basis. In addition, it ensures compatibility with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit with Siri, Google’s Assistant, Samsung’s SmartThings, and others.

Moreover, Matter is also significant as it will allow users to purchase any smart home product and integrate it into their existing ecosystem. As a result, users won’t have to download multiple apps for each of their smart home gadgets. They can also work together on tasks such as automation and routines.

The first specification release of the Matter protocol will run on existing networking technologies such as Ethernet (802.3), Wi-Fi (802.11), and Thread (802.15.4) and for ease of commissioning, Bluetooth Low Energy.

How does Matter benefit consumers, developers, and retailers?

To sum things up, here are the Matter’s advantages for various scopes:

For consumers

It makes smart devices work reliably together, taking the guesswork out of the purchase process. This allows consumers to choose from a larger range of brands they love while also providing them with the security and convenience of a connected home.

For developers

It is a unifying, IP-based connectivity protocol that helps them connect to and construct reliable, secure IoT ecosystems while allowing them to focus on developing innovative products.

As mentioned, Matter is backed by leading tech-industry leaders, including Amazon, Google, Apple, and Samsung SmartThings. That said, Matter makes it easier for device manufacturers to build devices compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others.

In May 2021, Google announced to bring Matter to Android and capable Nest products, powering them with interoperable control and enabling simpler setups. With Matter, users only need a few taps to set up their devices, and they will have lots of ways to instantly control them, such as Matter-enabled Android apps, Google Assistant, the Google Home app, Android Power Controls, and compatible Google devices. In addition, it also allows over one billion Android devices to enable simple setup and control of all Matter-certified products.

Apple has also revealed to add support for Matter in their smart home app. According to the company, the enhanced and new APIs in HomeKit enable smart home developers to integrate with the new Matter protocol in the most convenient way.

Meanwhile, in October 2021, Samsung SmartThings announced the addition of the new protocol, Matter, allowing users to control Matter-enabled devices using their multiple Samsung products.

For retailers

It is a dependable IoT compatibility standard that helps build the smart home category by simplifying the purchasing process, expanding the smart home category to more retailers, and cutting operational costs.

When will it launch?

Products based on the new Matter standard were originally intended to be available late last year. However, the Connectivity Standards Alliance had to postpone the rollout, pushing it towards mid-2022.

As of March 2022, over 240 companies globally are involved with developing the Matter standard, backed up by thousands of engineers at those companies who are creating the specification, certification, testing tools, and an open-source software development kit.

CSA said that over 130 devices and sensors are on their way to being the first Matter-capable and certified devices in the market. However, there’s no word yet about the exact date of their release.

Meanwhile, members poised to be early adopters of Matter include:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • ASSA ABLOY
  • Comcast Corporation
  • Google
  • Huawei
  • IKEA
  • Infineon
  • Kroger
  • Leedarson
  • Legrand
  • Lutron
  • NXP
  • OPPO
  • Resideo
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Schneider Electric
  • Signify
  • Silicon Laboratories
  • Somfy Group
  • STMicroelectronics
  • Texas Instruments
  • Tuya
  • Wulian

Matter is smart home’s next big thing.

The advancements that come out of Matter could be some of the most ideal and consumer-friendly we’ll see in smart homes yet. Hopefully, once the products powered by the Matter protocol hit store shelves, we will be able to take advantage of all the features that come with them and achieve the smart and secure home we are all dreaming of.

If you wish to be updated on what’s new in the smart home space, you may also check out the Next Upgrade Youtube channel!

 

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AUTHOR

Gracey Maala

Gracey is the lead content writer for Next Upgrade’s Technology and Gaming sections. She loves to explore and learn new stuff for work, while she enjoys telling stories, watching TV series, and bonding with her mom and dogs in her free time.

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