What is matter and how will it transform smart homes?

Cupertino, December 24, 2021

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When it arrives in 2022, Matter hopes to offer a unified smart home platform for Apple, Samsung, Alexa and Google products. Here's everything you need to know about innovative technology and why it's important.

What is smart home stuff?

Matter is a smart home language of the future that allows devices from different ecosystems to communicate with each other. In other words, your Alexa-controlled thermostat will be able to connect to the Google Home-controlled smart display. It also means that you can control Google products using Siri, or even order Apple Homekit devices through Alexa. Matter is a collaborative effort between professionals from a variety of industries and is the creation of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA).

Matter hopes to become the core smart home hub for all smart products. It's important to note that Matter is not a new, tangible gadget, but rather a basic software that will improve connectivity between existing (and future) third-party products. Apple Homekit, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings and Amazon Alexa have already purchased the new connectivity standard, and you can look forward to seeing the technology in their products by mid-2022.

As for how Matter actually works - well, that's a little complicated. To keep it simple, Matter will work using both standard Wi-Fi and an existing technology called Thread (which provides connectivity for battery-powered devices), while also incorporating the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) when setting up certain devices. Once the initial connection is complete, all smart devices in your network will be able to communicate with each other.

If Matter sounds unfamiliar, it's because it's not technically a new creation. First announced in 2020 as a weird name, "Project Connected Home Over IP" or Project CHIP, the language has since been rebranded as Matter (which is a better objective choice).

For most consumers, however, it is not important what it is called or how it works. What is important is how it will affect the configuration of the smart home and make their lives a little less complicated.

How will your smart home improve your stuff?

One of the biggest selling points for Matter is that it will essentially allow you to expand your current smart home ecosystem using almost every product on the market. Apple HomeKit users (who desperately need a smart display) will be able to take a Google Nest Hub Max and easily incorporate it into their configuration. Alexa devices will be able to use the power of Siri voice commands to perform tasks. You no longer have to look for products that are specific to your smart home ecosystem - as long as they are compatible with Matter, they will integrate well into your network.

Security should also be improved with the introduction of the matter. Devices on your local network can work without having to connect to a cloud, which makes it difficult to find information outside your home. Of course, updates and downloads will still require a long-distance connection, but daily interactions will all be limited to Thread and Wi-Fi, making them extremely secure.

These products will support the material

A full list of supported products has not yet been released, but we know that many of today's most popular companies agree with Matter. When the technology is launched in 2022, you'll be able to quickly identify supported devices with a "Matter" logo on the package.

Here's a look at the types of smart home products that will be compatible with Matter at launch:

Within these categories, these specific devices are expected to provide Matter support.

Amazon Alexa

  • Echo smart speakers (4of gender)
  • Echo Studio
  • Echo Show 10
  • Echo Plus

Google

  • Nest smart speakers
  • Nest Hub Max
  • Nest Wi-Fi
  • Nest Hub (2when gender)

Apple Homekit

  • Apple TV 4K
  • HomePod Mini
  • All existing HomeKit APIs

Samsung SmartThings

  • According to Samsung, all current SmartThings hubs will support Matter.

The problem does not replace your old devices

Matter was built from the ground up to be compatible with most of today's best-selling smart devices. This means you won't have to throw away your old smart screen or thermostat just because Matter is becoming the new standard. There is a good chance that the products you currently have will accept Matter, and if they do not do so at launch, they may be supported at a later date.

Even if it's not language-compatible, you can still use your smart home ecosystem as if nothing has changed.

However, some experts predict that Matter will reduce development costs for smart devices, so it might be tempting to upgrade to a brilliant new gadget that incorporates Matter into its software. Until then, the best bet to protect your home in the future is to buy only smart devices that support Thread, as it is a basic component of Matter.

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