Cross-compatibility with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more begins next year

Cupertino, October 25, 2021

If you have been looking forward to his arrival material standard to unify your smart devices at home, it looks like you'll need to cool your heels longer.

Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which is the group responsible for material, recently announced that it will postpone the launch of the new interoperable smart home standard until 2022.

At the end of 2019, Apple joined forces with Amazon, Google and the Zigbee Alliance to form a new working group known as IP connected home project, or the "CHIP Project", which aimed to solve all the confusing problems of interoperability with home automation accessories.

The vision was that one day you will be able to use accessories created for Amazon Alexa with HomeKit or Google Home accessories with Alexa or even combinations and match any group of accessories in any combination.

This actually promised the biggest advantage for HomeKit users, as the Apple ecosystem has traditionally been much more limited - the number of HomeKit compatible devices in HUNDREDS, while Amazon boasts much over 10,000 Alexa compatible devices. Alexa also supports many more device categories.

Needless to say, however, coming up with a standard that allows all of this to work together is no easy task, although Apple took an important first step last year by opening HomeKit.

Then, in September last year, the Zigbee Alliance weighed in with the news that the new open and universal CHIP standard would be ratified sometime in 2021.

Unfortunately, now it looks like they will miss the deadline.

A few months ago, the Zigbee Alliance adopted a new name, the Connectivity Standards Alliance, and renamed CHIP "Matter," but things have moved slower than expected, no doubt hampered by the challenges of the global health pandemic. being.

The CSA announcement does not provide any specific reason for the delay, other than that it wants to ensure that it takes things immediately from the gate.

Using an open-source SDK approach means that everyone who develops a Matter device can use the same code base. This is absolutely essential to ensure rapid adoption and market success - but we need to do things right. The ultimate goal remains to provide a specification and SDK that lives up to our promise to create a common language for the smart home and to improve the experiences of smart home consumers and stimulate greater innovation.

Connectivity Standards Alliance

It is a correct assessment when developing such a standard, as there are chances that dozens of hardware manufacturers will build devices according to the new specifications. At the very least, we certainly hope that, as smart home fans ourselves, the last thing we want to see is compatibility issues that require an endless stream of firmware updates - or even product replacements - for everything to work. work properly.

The moment continued

To be clear, the CSA continues to advance rapidly and notices that the function is set for material has been fully defined.

In fact, four test events have already been conducted for the new standard, the most recent with over 60 devices and over 40 unique companies.

Also, in the last three months there has been a 40% increase in the number of contributions to the Matter software development framework.

However, it seems that all these tests have shown the Working Party on the subject that it really opens up significant new ground here, so it needs to take time to make sure it has all the details right.

The focus is now on developing support for several types of devices and continuing to test the standard in a much wider range of manufacturers and types of devices. The group is also expected to hold its first "gated" testing event next month, which it describes as a key milestone that will define which Matter devices will be the first to hit the market.

In addition to the four major smart home ecosystems - Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Zigbee - the group has announced numerous other big players that will be on board at launch or very close. This includes:

  • Assa Abloy (Yale)
  • Coolkit (eWeLink)
  • Expressive System
  • Eve Systems
  • Infineon Technologies
  • Nanoleaf
  • Nordic Semiconductor
  • NXP Semiconductors
  • Schneider Electric
  • Significant (Philips Hue & WiZ)
  • Silicon Labs
  • SmartThings
  • Texas Instruments

Currently, the Matter Working Group includes 200 global companies and the participation of over 2,000 people, which is an increase of over 10% compared to where it was in May.

At the time, the Matter Working Group still expected to be able to certify the first devices by the end of 2021, but now that it has gone through several testing events, the group has realized that it needs more time "to meet expectations." . market ”and have a wide range of different products ready to launch.

In May of this year, we saw a path of development with the first devices through certification by the end of 2021. With the completion of several testing and forecasting events, our members updated the program to reflect the commitment to ensure that The SDK, and related tools, are ready to meet market expectations when launched and enable a large ecosystem of interoperable Matter products.

Connectivity Standards Alliance

As a result, the development of software frameworks (SDKs) and the certification program is expected to continue throughout the rest of this year, with a "pre-vote" version of the specifications available to members by the end of 2021.

If all goes according to plan, the first half of 2022 will see the SDK launched and the formal certification program functional, so that the first devices are ready to land in the hands of eager customers.

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