Apple, Google, Amazon and other major smart home players in the Connectivity Standards Alliance are all voicing their support of Matter, an emerging smart home interoperability protocol aimed at making all the best smart home devices work better together. But what does Matter mean for smart homes?
While not too important for the average consumer right now, this is a colossal step for the smart home industry. Consider this: as of right now, many devices on the market cooperate with one another, but still require multiple apps to access all features, and even then, they sometimes don’t play with one another as well as expected.
As a connectivity certification, all Matter-certified devices will be able to play on a singular ecosystem. This means less confusion than what comes with today’s smart home operations. Effectively, it’s a seal-of-approval backed by a regulatory-like standard that means associated smart devices will play nicely with one another.
So Who’s In On It?
Obviously, smart home devices from Apple, Google and Amazon will all operate within Matter’s protocol, which is built upon Internet Protocol (IP) to enable IP-based networking between these devices and the smartphones apps and cloud services that manage them. Beyond that, however devices from over 100 companies are already committed to Matter.
Products like ecobee, TCL, Wyze and Signify, the parent company of Philips Hue Lights, will all soon be able to play with one another in smart home ecosystems. Many smart home products on the market are already Matter compatible as well. There’s actually not that much new technology going into Matter products. Again, think of it as a seal of approval and a standard for specific devices to follow.
Wait, Isn’t This Already Out There?
While this may sound familiar to some (Samsung SmartThings, Zigbee, Z-Wave), the difference that makes this protocol matter is that it is the direct result of the major smart home leaders working in unison in the name of privacy and interoperability between their devices.
Ideally, with this, homeowners will no longer have to fret over finding compatible devices. All Matter devices will come with that seal of approval on their packaging.
The thinking is any smart home device purchased from a reputable brand should be able to work with other reputable smart home products, and Matter is a definite step in this direction.
As of right now, there is no concrete set-up for just how devices will be controlled an operated within a Matter-connected smart home, but an app is apparently in the works.
Imagine a truly seamless smart home (or smart room) experience in the future, facilitated by Matter interoperability, where lights, sound, (and aromatherapy?) seamlessly activate to generate deep immersive environments in a home. Or perhaps shading, HVAC and lighting systems cooperate with one another to generate safe, comfortable environments in buildings.
More information, as well as the full list of participants in the Matter protocol can be found on Matter’s main site.