Matter is Finally Here! But …
October 6, 2022
For anyone following smart home technology I’d bet money you’ve run across references to Matter. I posted on Matter about a year and half ago when it was in it’s early stages of development. Basically the idea was bringing all the smart home players together to set standards for product development in order to allow devices to interact with each other. Well it’s finally here.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance has released the final Matter 1.0 standard and announced that the certification program is now open. An official Matter launch event is scheduled for November 3rd, but the first Matter devices could show up any day now. Matter certification labs are up and running, the SDK is complete, and companies can start manufacturing, upgrading, and getting the official Matter stamp of approval for their devices. Companies can start selling Matter devices or upgrading existing ones as soon as they’re certified.
Matter is designed to make smart home devices simpler. By giving your door lock and light bulb a way to talk directly to each other, either over Wifi or a newer protocol called Thread, Matter should make the smart home faster and more responsive. It should also enable an easier setup process, with compatible devices automatically showing up on your smartphone to allow you to connect them. Plus, with a common language that’s local to your home and doesn’t rely on the cloud, your devices can be controlled by more than one smart home ecosystem or voice assistant.
The initial Matter spec only covers a limited number of device categories however. At launch there are about 4,000 certified devices but they will be limited to smart light bulbs and fixtures, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats and other HVAC controls, smart shades, smart sensors, connected locks, and media devices including TVs. Cameras, large appliances and robot vacuums will not be supported initially. Appliances aren’t really a dealbreaker but cameras and vacuums being unsupported are a disappointment.
The first rollout also includes Matter controllers and bridges, which are devices such as the Google Nest Hub Max and Amazon Echo smart speaker that can act as both a conduit for devices to talk to each other and as an interface for you to control your devices using voice or a touchscreen interface.
Smartphone apps such as the Google Home app and the Apple Home app will also be Matter controllers. Bridges can also be Matter certified to bring their connected products into the Matter ecosystem. For example, a smart lighting control bridge will be upgraded to Matter, allowing its lights to be controlled by any Matter controller without the lights being updated.
Matter has also been designed to be secure using technology that ensures devices have to confirm who they are and where they are from before being allowed on the network. In terms of privacy, Matter operates entirely locally over IP, but it doesn’t rely on an internet connection to run. However, it is designed to talk to the cloud easily. Those conversations are controlled by the ecosystem app or device app you use then governed by their individual privacy policies.
To many of you, Matter may not be a thought regarding your smart home. That’s actually the end game for CSA. Without the standardization, integrating different device types, manufacturers and communication protocols was laborious for even the mildly provisioned smart home. Planning a complex smart home like Debbie and I are working on has been a chore up to now but with the proliferation of Matter it’s getting easier. I’d imagine by the time we get the house built and move in, Matter will be a much more mature platform. We’ll be reporting on all of that as we move forward with construction.
Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails what you think about Matter as we really enjoy hearing from you. How will you take advantage of the standardization? Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’