The Connectivity Standards Alliance certified and released the first version of the Matter smart home interoperability protocol on Tuesday and I couldn’t be happier. This means that member companies can now submit their devices to the certification protocol and get a badge indicating that their products are compliant with Matter.
Matter is an app-level protocol that will allow smart home devices to communicate with each other, regardless of their manufacturer or ecosystem. So if a bulb is Matter certified, it will be able to share some basic information about itself with other Matter devices, like whether it’s on or off, its dimming capabilities, color, etc. Matter uses Bluetooth Low Energy for provisioning. via a QR code, while it relies on Wi-Fi for high-speed connectivity and Thread for low-speed communications.
Matter is an important smart home standard as it will enable basic functionality for low-level devices including lighting and electrical, HVAC controls, window coverings and blinds, security sensors and security, door locks, media devices including TVs, controllers like both devices. and applications, and bridges. It also features a security element that will use certificates to authenticate a Matter device before it joins the network. Matter also requires encryption between device communications in the home.
Also important, Matter allows devices to communicate locally with bridges and controllers, meaning your smart home will still work when the internet goes down, and some devices may still have basic functionality even if they lose connection to the cloud because the device manufacturer goes down. Company. Users are also excited about Matter’s multi-admin feature, which should allow consumers with multiple controllers (such as Siri or Alexa) to connect devices to their smart home once while sharing control between multiple controllers. As someone who has a smart home with SmartThings, Amazon, and Google, this feature will come in very handy.
These new interoperability facilities and the security that Matter brings to the smart home will be important. However, there are a lot of things he won’t do, especially at first.
Originally, Matter was supposed to handle enough provisioning and functionality that users didn’t have to download an app. In most cases, users will still need to do this. Additionally, it’s clear that in order to release Matter without further delay, the working group left some of the more complicated use cases for later.
On a panel I moderated last month, Comcast’s Jim Kitchen pointed out that for complex smart home setups, the experience might not be so great. I’ve also been warned by many sources that porting all my smart home gear to Matter is going to cause problems. I expected this and listed some of the issues in this story.
550 CSA members participate in the development of the Matter standard, and this summer 280 companies, including Amazon, Signify, Google, SmartThings and more, came together to test their products by working together in a series of events of testing. People who attended these test events were surprised at how well things turned out, but as the official launch approached, it was clear that Matter would not be the panacea announced in December 2019 when the standard was created for the first time. announcement.
The pandemic and a burgeoning membership base have led to delays in the standard, while continued frustration with smart home devices has led Matter to become both more prominent in the minds of consumers and ultimately less so. relevant, as the streamlined functionality promised by Matter was overshadowed by the rise of services. With Amazon focusing on delivering ambient intelligence through a software development kit and Google focusing on “intelligence clusters” in its own SDK, it’s clear that developers building for the smart home will need to still develop for specific ecosystems, even if the low level things are supported by Matter.
We will also see commodity device makers struggle to differentiate their devices and software to entice users to download their apps and purchase their hardware as opposed to other Matter-enabled door locks or bulbs. So while Matter allows Eve, a sensor and device company that historically only worked with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, to finally work on Android devices, it also means Eve’s competitors can work with the same ecosystems while offering cheaper devices that may not cover all of Eve’s great features such as energy monitoring.
However, today is still a good day for the smart home and users should look for devices with the Matter badge in time for the holidays. Many popular device manufacturers have already announced their intention to support the standard, and those such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Signify and Samsung SmartThings will soon be released with approved devices.
For more on Matter, check out the following stories:
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