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Matter will change the way we think about smart homes

This new industry standard will change the world of IoT for the better.

So, What is Matter?

If you have any smart home devices now, or have shopped for any new tech recently, you may already be familiar with the hassle of getting everything to work together seamlessly. Especially if you want to do so all in one app. Maybe you want a Google Nest thermostat but want to use an iPhone. Or perhaps you want Philips lighting and want a Eufy security camera. Trying to figure out if all the different devices will work together in one app will soon be a thing of the past.

Matter is a new internet of things, smart home industry standard. This will shift the way we think of the current smart home. No longer will we need to buy products based on what platform they support or what other devices they are compatible with. You will soon be able to shop with confidence for your new smart home tech. Buying a product with Matter certification will ensure that it will just work with nearly any platform you want to use. All the major players are in on this standard too. Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, and hundreds of others have joined forces under the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) to set the bar for smart home compatibility.

When will this be available?

Most of the work has already been completed. In fact many devices that are out now already have the hardware or software needed. There are some final steps in the works to get this standard implemented and bring even more certified products to the everyday consumer. Like with any project of this scale there have been delays and obstacles to overcome. The latest news puts the expected release in the fall of this year. The first version of this standardization includes the following types of products:

  • Lightbulbs

  • Lighting controllers

  • Light switches

  • Smart Plugs

  • Smart Outlets

Heating and Cooling
  • Thermostats

  • HVAC Controllers

Security & Safety
  • Door locks

  • Motion Sensors

  • Contact Sensors

  • Smoke Detectors / CO Detectors

  • Garage Door Controllers

  • Window Blinds & Shades

  • Wireless Access Points

  • Bridges

  • Streaming Video Players

  • Smart Televisions

With so many types of devices already planned, this is stacking up to be a very exciting change. Future updates to the standard will likely include even more categories such as robot vacuum cleaners, surveillance cameras, and lots more. For now this is a great start to unifying the smart home.

Will I have to buy all new devices?

Fortunately many manufacturers have committed to firmware or software updates to bring Matter to existing devices. Unfortunately we won't know the definitive answer to this until it happens. The CSA has done a lot of work to ensure backward compatibility. Most devices that support Thread, or Zigbee will work with Matter without any issues. As for other devices, there will likely be hubs or inexpensive bridges that can bring them into the Matter ecosystem.

This new push for standardization is a huge deal for the smart home industry. No single company or group in the past has been able to gather this many platforms, manufacturers, and technologies into one consolidated alliance. There are over 200 members involved and you can check out the full list here.

What about Security & Privacy?

These are two features at the foundation of how Matter works. It uses the following 7 powerful techniques to ensure a secure ecosystem:

  1. Validation of Device Authenticity and Certification

  2. User Consent

  3. Local Device Identity

  4. Control Rules

  5. Encrypted Communications

  6. Privacy Controls

  7. Secure Software Updates

These steps are used on all matter devices. From light bulbs to thermostats, they take the industry best practices to the next level. This provides peace of mind and ease of use. You can rest assured that your home is not only smart, but secure. Check out this video to dig deeper into the security & privacy behind Matter.

Will it be expensive?

Surprisingly, no. This should actually make upgrading your home more affordable than ever. Due to the vast amount of products that will be available (Over 5 billion by 2030), the abundance of options should drive down the cost of newer smart home tech. In addition there are so many inexpensive devices out there now that are already compatible. Smart home tech will soon be more available and easier to use than ever before.

Should I wait to buy new tech?

This is a tricky question. Many major companies have devoted a lot of time and resources to this standard and will very likely stay true to their promises. That being said, buying hardware now based on future software promises is always a risk. Some things may seem like a safe bet, the whole standard is based on protocols like Zigbee and Thread, so if you purchase devices with those technologies you'd expect them to work with no problem. Even that is not 100% true for all manufacturers. Some companies may not see the value in updating their existing lineup. So be cautious when on the hunt for some new home tech.

Ultimately, if you are set on a current platform and are happy, stick with it. No need to wait on matter if you have no use for the interoperability of the standard. On the other hand if you have roommates on different platforms or you are upgrading your rental property and want the widest possible array of compatibility. Maybe you are ready to build out a complete smart home and you don't want to be stuck in a single platform or ecosystem. Then this standard will definitely 'Matter" to you and it is probably worth the wait.

As always thanks for reading! We look forward to your questions or comments. Keep an eye out for updates on this as we expect some news on the release within the next few months.



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