What is Matter – The Next Gen Smart Home Standard?

What is Matter – The Next Gen Smart Home Standard?

The volume of smart home devices is on the rise day by day. Consumer spending on Smart Home devices is skyrocketing. Ranging from smart lights, doorbells, water systems, smart appliances, security cameras, and smart switches to generic smart home devices like smart TVs and Smart Speakers, there is surely an invasion of these devices in most homes. Most inanimate objects are gaining the ability to connect to the internet and communicate with users in real-time.

With the increase in the demand for such devices, there is a tremendous increase in the number of companies that are building and selling smart devices. A revolution like this always demands the need for standardization for the sake of interoperability, reliability, and compatibility, and to provide the benefit of choice to customers. There is a lack of standardization in the smart home market, causing the entire structure to become more complex than we perceive. Each company chooses a standard or focuses on proprietary standards in some cases.

Matter protocol is what focuses on the standardization of these smart home devices and solves many pain points that customers and developers face in bringing various IoT devices closer.

Matter is a new smart home standard conceived by Project Connected Home Over IP (Project Chip) in 2019. It’s now maintained by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance. The standard is royalty-free and encourages interoperability between devices and platforms.

The CSA brought many of the biggest smart home players on board with Matter, including Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings. With all the companies coming together and supporting the Matter Fraternity, a big leap has been taken by companies towards standardization. The idea of Matter was first discussed in 2019, and now there are more than 200 member companies

What is Matter?

Matter is a smart home universal connectivity standard to make the use of smart home devices and IoT devices simpler. It focuses on building open-source protocols that can unify IoT devices and mobile apps into communicating with one another. Products in compliance with Matter will be able to be part of a larger ecosystem and focus on complementing peer devices. It also will enable users to walk around in an open garden instead of the traditional protocol-restricted high-walled garden. This will increase the number of IoT devices in the market – but ensure that they are synced together making it easier for the consumer to focus on reaping the benefits of those devices to the best of their abilities.

Why was matter needed?

During the advent of smart home devices, each device was independently developed by companies that relied on their proprietary protocol. With every smart home device, came its own device app. Now if a user decides to purchase various devices from different companies, he would have to depend on multiple mobile applications independently syncing with his devices. This also reduced the chances of marking the devices to talk to one another, with or without human interference. That left customers with limited choices, either opt for products which work best independently – and accept the fact that they will have to use numerous mobile apps in the process, or rely on mediocre or not-so-great ecosystem products from a single brand/company.

Matter can now solve this problem. Matter-compliant and certified products can now talk to one another and with other mobile applications even if they are not manufactured by the same company i.e. they are from different brands. It means that as a consumer you need not depend on a brand for your second smart home device, but you can go with the device that you like. Now you can use Philips Hue with Apple home with Amazon Door-Bell etc. These devices can appear in the Samsung SmartThings app etc.

How does Matter work?

Matter relies on wireless network technologies like WiFi and Thread. Thread is a new networking protocol that makes Matter work better by making it easier and faster to connect smart devices to your home. It works alongside your WiFi Network. It is a single, unified, application-layer connectivity standard designed to enable developers to connect and build reliable, secure IoT ecosystems and increase compatibility among Smart Home and Building devices. Being open-source and royalty-free, it enables new players and small companies to enter the Smart Home Market with better and lesser resistance.

What Next?

Smart Home companies are engaging their teams to build devices that are in compliance with the Matter Protocol. This will enable them to have devices in the open garden not bound by any restrictions, and freely connect with peer devices. Smart Home Device Manufacture companies are engaging in developing new Smart Home Devices which are Matter Certified, whereas Semiconductor Manufacturers are busy developing new Silicons for the Matter Market, which will help companies develop Smart Home Products faster.

There has been a leap of progress in every field post-standardization. Similarily, a lot of development is sought to happen in the Smart Home Industry in the next couple of years, especially with the level of standardization that is being discussed.