Critical facts you need to know about the new “Matter” smart home release
Table of Contents
What is Matter?
In Oct 2022 Matter version 1.0 was released; this ground-breaking smart home standard (Protocol) has been developed and maintained by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance. The CSA has brought many of the main smart home players on board with Matter, including Amazon, Google, Apple, and Samsung.
The Matter standard allows interoperability between smart home devices and platforms from competing manufacturers. The CSA has thousands of engineers, software developers, and more than 190 Tech organizations worldwide working on the Matter standard, providing a single interoperable Smart Home standard. Matter also has a Product Security Working Group; the biggest winner is the consumer.
Thread also Matters!
Matter-certified devices are complemented by Thread, a dedicated, very low-powered mesh-based wireless protocol. Matter devices deploying Thread connect to the rest of your home network (and, in turn, the internet) through Thread Border Routers. Border Routers act as a bridge between the Thread network and your home WiFi network. Another very important feature of Thread is that it has the ability to self-heal. For example, suppose a device happens to drop its connection on the network. In this scenario, Thread can heal itself by making necessary connections with other devices to keep the network intact, therefore maintaining the functionality of your devices.
Matter Multi-Admin Control
Matter also allows you to control devices via multiple smart home systems simultaneously through its Multi-Admin feature. This means you can control your lights from the SmartThings app on a Samsung smartphone, dim them by asking Alexa on an Amazon Echo speaker, and turn them off using the Apple Home app from an iPad as an example. In addition, there isn’t a hard limit to the number of different systems you can run simultaneously. No longer will you have to use a single ecosystem if you don’t want to.
What was there before Matter?
Smart Home (IoT) devices, including Thread, have been around for some time; however, there wasn’t a universal standard to bring them all together, which was one of the biggest hurdles that CSA has been able to overcome. Between Zigbee, WiFi, Z-Wave, Cellular, and Bluetooth, wireless connectivity space for smart home IoT devices became very crowded, causing major issues. However, with Matter making interoperability across all Smart Home devices a reality, all these problems will disappear.
Will I need a new Hub, Bridge, or Router for Matter?
Matter devices use Thread wireless technology to communicate on the network, and Thread uses border routers to route communications from Thread-enabled devices to WiFi devices. As Thread wireless has been around for many years, many common smart home devices can be used as Thread border routers. For example, WiFi routers, Smart Speakers, Smart Lights, and Smart Switches can all be Border Routers. So, if you already have Smart devices in your home, chances are you may already have some that could function as Thread border routers.
What platforms will Matter support?
Matter will enable you to control devices freely with whichever platform you prefer. The CSA has made compatibility a priority, making it clear that you will be able to use any Matter-certified device and set it up within seconds without any issues. The CSA has also highlighted that you can control your smart home with any controller app you like, whether that’s Google Home, Apple Home, Samsung SmartThings, Ikea Dirigera Hub, or Amazon Alexa, to name a few. Virtually all Smart Home device manufacturers are jumping on board with Matter. Some older products may likely require a Matter software update to be compatible. From now on, you will want to look out for smart home devices with native support for Matter.
Is Matter Secure and what about ongoing support?
The CSA announced it would strive for a twice-yearly release of functional updates, improvements, and support with cameras, appliances, and energy management will be first in line. The CSA is very much focused on stability, creating a great experience, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Matter also has a dedicated Product Security Working Group, Matter has many security features, and the CSA has vowed to improve security within the Matter protocol continually.
Matter Smart Home FAQs
Matter will initially support smart lighting, plugs, locks, sensors, thermostats, shades/blinds, WiFi routers, SmartThings Hubs, Apple Home Kit, and Google Nest. The Matter protocol allows bridges to connect your existing smart home devices to Matter. What devices will work with Matter? (CSA)
Zigbee is not being replaced by Matter; the Matter protocol goes back to 2019 as a joint initiative between Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, and Samsung at that time called the Zigbee Alliance. The original Zigbee Alliance is now known as CSA (Connectivity Standards Alliance), which has developed the Matter standard (Protocol) and monitors the manufacturers’ compliance with the Matter standard.
No, because Matter itself is not a smart home system; Matter connects all the individual smart devices in the home to various platforms like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and Home Assistant to create a robust network.
Yes, Matter is designed to work alongside existing smart home standards. A Matter bridge performs the protocol translation between Matter, a Zigbee or Z-Wave network, and its connected devices. So if you have an existing Z-Wave, Zigbee network in your home, the Matter protocol enables any existing non-Matter devices to be connected to the network.
Yes, Matter is compatible with Alexa; Matter allows virtually all smart home devices to work on all well-known smart home platforms, regardless of who made it, including Amazon Alexa. Matter can operate across multiple platforms; for example, if you add a Matter device using Alexa, you can control it with Google Home or Apple’s HomeKit without any conflicts.
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