Subject: Everything you need to know

Cupertino, November 12, 2021

Source: Business Wire

When it comes to buying smart home products, it is not always cut and dried. Support for certain items can often be limited to an ecosystem, which means you can't just pick up a smart device and trust that it will work with whatever you use. But that's about to change, thanks to Matter. Formerly called Project CHIP, Matter is set to change things in a way that will make it easier than ever to establish the best smart home.

But what exactly is Matter? Also, what is Thread and how does it fit into everything? Will the current devices work with the new standard or will we have to buy completely new products?

What happened?

Matter generally refers to the new smart home connectivity standard, created by a working group of more than 200 companies and founded by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), the former Zigbee Alliance. It uses Internet Protocol (IP) such as Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi and Thread to make smart home products compatible with each other, using a single standard instead of the many disparate standards that exist today.

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The Matter working group also takes an open-source approach to developing the SDK, which will allow companies to bring products to market faster once it is completed.

This will make it easier for companies and developers to build smart appliances and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that work seamlessly together, regardless of brand. This means that Matter certified products will work with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit products, Samsung SmartThings and more. This will also simplify the buying process for both retailers and consumers, who can be comforted knowing that even the best smart home products will support their ecosystem.

What is Thread?

Thread is a wireless network protocol similar to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which allows seamless communication between devices. It is based on IPv6 and uses an edge router, or "border router", to connect that network to other networks such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet and the cloud. Thread serves as a connection between devices, while Matter is the language that these devices will use to communicate and is above Thread as an application layer.

Wire network

Source: Thread Group

The group responsible for the protocol boasts that Thread networks do not have "not a single point of failure and include the ability to self-heal". This is because all devices on the network can communicate with each other, as opposed to having a centralized controller like other protocols. This means that if the Leader router fails, another router will take its place in the network.

Devices that use Thread are easy to set up and most are set up automatically. Thread also supports full end-to-end encryption between all devices; that means device to device, device to mobile and remote device, and device to any cloud service.

What companies are involved?

Echo Show 10 Nest Hub Max 3

Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

There are over 200 companies involved in the Matter working group, which means that there will be a lot of products that will support the new standard. Some of the biggest names in the smart home industry are involved, including Google, Amazon, Samsung and even Apple.

These companies have already pledged their support for Matter and Thread for current or future products. Amazon says it will support some of its existing Eero and Echo products, starting with Echo (fourth generation) and later expanding to other devices.

Google will integrate Matter with Android and Nest to ensure that setting up your device is quick, easy, and hassle-free. Some products such as Nest Hub (second generation) will accept Matter over Thread, while others will accept Matter over Wi-Fi.

This highlights the fact that not all products updated to support Matter will include Thread support, which can be an important distinction. Either way, this is good news for users who are already invested in the ecosystems of the Nest ecosystem.

Samsung has also promised support for Matter in its SmartThings platform. However, the company did not specify which devices will receive support, saying it will "bring Matter to more products in 2022".

Other manufacturers of smart home items, such as Philips, Ikea and many others, have committed to updating their current devices to accept the new standard.

When will Matter certified devices be available?

Matter Smart Home Branding

Source: Business Wire

Earlier this year, a timetable was set to have products certified by the end of the year. These devices would bear the Matter brand, making them easily recognizable to retailers and consumers.

However, the timeline has been updated recently, signaling a process delay that will not see the SDK completed and the first device certifications not taking place until the first half of 2022. This means that we may not see that the certified products Matter will not hit the market until the second half of 2022.

Tobin Richardson, CSA President and CEO, said the delay was a necessary move, "ensuring that the SDK and related tools are prepared to meet market expectations when launched and enable a large ecosystem of interoperable Matter products." . "

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