If you follow the smart home space, then you’ve definitely heard about Matter. It’s a new smart home connectivity standard that is being developed among the biggest smart home brands. It’s supposedly going to make everything work better together.
Matter was formerly called Project CHIP. And it was rebranded earlier this year. It might be a pun on how much this standard matters, but either way, this is very important for upcoming smart home products.
What is Matter? How will it work with your current smart home devices and your future devices? Will it make life easier? We’re going to aim to answer all of this and more in this article.Advertisement
What is Matter?
Matter is a new smart home connectivity standard that is being created by a group of over 200 companies. It was founded by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which was formerly the Zigbee Alliance. This new standard uses the Internet Protocol (IP) including Bluetooth LE, WiFi, and Thread that will work together to make smart home products compatible with each other using a single standard instead of the many disparate standards that exist today.
This group is taking an open-source approach to developing the SDK, that will enable companies to bring their products to market with Matter support even faster, once the standard is completed.Advertisement
What’s the point of Matter though? Well, Matter is going to help make it easier for companies and developers to build new smart home appliances as well as Internet of Things or IoT products, that will work seamlessly together with Google Home/Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings. It’s going to simplify the buying process of these products. You won’t have to think about whether this Nest Doorbell works with other platforms than just Google Assistant.
While we can’t list the over 200 companies that are part of the alliance for Matter, here are the bigger names:
What is Thread?
Thread is a big part of Matter. And it’s important to understand what it is, as well. Thread is a wireless mesh protocol that is similar to WiFi and Bluetooth. It enables seamless communication between devices. It is based on IPv6 and uses an edge router, or “border router” to connect that network to other networks like WiFi, Ethernet, and the Cloud. Basically, Thread serves as the connection between devices, while Matter is the language that those devices will use to communicate. And it sits on top of Thread, working as an application layer.Advertisement
Thread apparently has “no single point of failure and include the ability to self-heal”. That is because all the devices on the network can communicate with each other as opposed to having one centralized controller like other protocols. This means that if the Leader router fails, another router will take its place in the network.
When will products that are Matter-certified be available?
So when can you get your hands on products that are Matter-certified? Well, most likely in the second half of 2022.Advertisement
Originally, we were supposed to see these devices coming out in 2021, but there was a delay in the process that wouldn’t see the SDK finished nor the first device certifications occur until the first half of 2022. That means that we may not see these devices go on sale until the second half of 2022.
We might see some Matter devices announced at CES in January. But those likely won’t be available until the Summer or even later. So we still have some time to wait here.