The upcoming smart home standard aims to address many of today’s smart home challenges, and Matter maintains a long list of companies. From platform owners like Apple, Google and Amazon to big manufacturers like Samsung and LG to smaller accessory-focused players like Nanoleaf, Eve and Wyze, Matter has an unparalleled industry alliance behind it.
As the lingua franca for smart home devices, Matter aims to simplify everything about the smart home, from purchase and setup to everyday use. Its biggest promise is that it will enable smart devices to work with each other across platforms and ecosystems, no matter who makes them.
But there is no Matter yet – after another failure, the launch is expected in the fall of 2022. This makes it difficult to determine how it will work in your home and what it will allow you to do, which is not easy or even impossible today.
To answer some of these questions, we collected information from published documents and spoke with companies that plan to support it, as well as the Connectivity Standards Consortium (CSA), which Matter oversees.
Think of this article as a living FAQ for all matters related to Matter; how this new smart home standard will work and what products it will work with. We will update this article as new information becomes available.
If you’ve made it this far and want to know what Matter’s deal is all about, check out Matter’s plan to save the smart home for an in-depth look at this new technology and its promise.
The big four smart home platforms Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings all promise Matter support, which means you’ll be able to control your connected devices with their apps, smart speakers/displays, and smart voice assistants. Matter Regulator.
But keep in mind that these aren’t the only players that can control a smart home with Matter, and we’ll be adding here as more information becomes available on how other ecosystems support Matter.
With Matter, you can use multiple platforms at the same time because it has a feature called multi-admin management. You can connect devices and platforms to any number of platforms as long as they support Matter. So yes, you will be able to control the new Nest thermostat with Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistants, or even both at the same time if you want.
But you still need to use a smart home platform; Matter is not an automation tool, it is a connection standard. While Matter will have some built-in controls, it won’t be able to create automations like setting the thermostat, turning off the lights, and locking the door when you leave the house – you’ll still need the app. However, with Matter, these machines will work on devices from different companies.
Here’s what each smart home platform promises to deliver on their products and services:
Amazon has promised to upgrade its fourth-generation Echo smart speaker to Thread and act as an edge router. Thread is the main protocol used by Matter, and edge routers are the bridge between Thread networks and Wi-Fi networks, another protocol used by Matter. Amazon’s Wi-Fi mesh company Eero has also pledged to support Matter. Most of its existing routers have built-in Thread radios, so they can be upgraded to support Matter.
Echo with Zigbee – Echo Studio, Echo Show 10 and Echo Plus – have the same radios as the 4th generation Echo, so they can potentially be upgraded to Thread border routers, says Chris DeCenzo, lead software engineer at Amazon Labs . 126 . This is because Thread is built on a Zigbee radio.
DeCenzo has confirmed that the rest of the current Echo speaker lineup will be upgraded to support Matter over Wi-Fi. “All Echo devices will be able to control all Matter devices on the home network, no matter what network technology they use,” he said. The company also said it will work with developers to help them develop Alexa smart home products and skills that seamlessly integrate with Matter.
Google has committed to upgrading all of its Nest smart speakers and displays to Matter, and said new products with built-in Thread, such as Nest Wi-Fi, Nest Hub Max, and second-generation Nest Hub, will also serve as a frontier. routers.
Interestingly, the Nest x Yale Lock (smart door lock) has a Thread radio inside, like all Nest Protect wired smoke detectors, a Nest learning thermostat (all three generations), and the original Nest wired camera. However, Google tells me that just because a device has Thread doesn’t necessarily mean it will be compatible with Matter. “Our goal is to make our products as compatible with Matter as possible,” said Kevin Poe, senior product manager at Google. “But a lot of that will depend on the technology needed for the agreement.”
Similarly, Google has stated that it will support developers building products for its platform to integrate those products with Matter via the Google Home Device SDK for Matter. It also plans to update its Matter-enabled mobile devices to manage Matter devices and allow Matter to simplify the device setup process.
Apple HomePod Mini and Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) have built-in Thread radios, can be used as Thread edge routers, and will get Matter support. Apple has committed to supporting Matter through the Home app and Siri on Apple devices. The company also says that all existing HomeKit APIs will automatically work with Matter-enabled accessories.
“We believe that all smart home accessories should work together to provide customers with maximum choice and compatibility without compromising security and privacy,” Apple spokesperson Jacqueline Roy told me. “That’s why we’re helping create and contribute to the new Matter standard so that all smart home accessories have the same level of security, privacy, and ease of use that Apple customers with HomeKit accessories enjoy today.”
Samsung said it will upgrade all existing SmartThings hubs to support Matter and make Matter the controller for its smartphones, smart TVs and smart devices like the Family Hub refrigerator. It is not yet confirmed whether this will be via Thread or Wi-Fi.
“We are very excited about the future, and Matter is at the heart of our thinking about the smart home of the future,” said Samantha Fein, vice president of business development and marketing at SmartThings.
While you can now buy Thread products from Eve, Nanoleaf, Eero, Wemo, and Nest — and there are plenty of Wi-Fi-enabled smart home devices — Matter products don’t exist yet. They won’t until the standards are finalized later this year. The earliest we’ll see a Matter-enabled product is Fall 2022. For more details on the new timeline, read this article on CSA’s plans to launch Matter.
Approximately 250 companies are members of the CSA Matter Working Group, many of which have already committed to supporting Matter in existing and future products. When they do, you’ll know if the product you’re about to buy is compatible with Matter, and if it has the Matter logo on it (looks a bit like a stick in a bikini bottom).
Work has begun on the next Matter specification. Robotic vacuum cleaners, home appliances, electric vehicle charging and smart energy management are likely to be part of Matter in the future, according to CSA CTO Chris Lapree.
Below is a list of companies with products or in development that have said they will work with Matter after launch:
While the list of devices that Matter will initially support is impressive, the big question is, what about smart security cameras? One of the most popular smart home devices, the smart home standard seems incomplete without a security camera. “The camera is probably 2.0,” Lapre said. “We knew we were going to make cameras – all the companies said they wanted to make cameras. But we need enough people ready to start working on it today and those who are now focused on 1.0.”
In the same way, home security sensors are part of Matter, but home security systems are not. Many smart homes operate with an alarm system as their main node, so the lack of integration here can be a hurdle for some.
Mitch Klein, chief executive of the Z-Wave Alliance, explained that porting the technology, which is widely used in home alarm systems for door/window sensors, motion sensors and other devices, to Matter will face significant challenges. “Getting UL certified for safety equipment is extremely difficult and Matter faces a lot of challenges in this regard,” he said. “UL is the benchmark, usually an insurance requirement. All professionally installed security systems require UL certification.”
When it comes to cameras and alarm systems, one of the biggest smart home companies in both fields – Ring – has shown no sign of supporting Matter. When I asked how/can I integrate Ring Alarm into Matter, the rep provided the following statement: “Ring Alarm Pro does not support Matter over Thread.”
Privacy and security concerns have seriously hampered smart home adoption, and securing devices is a major tenant of Matter. “We are secure by design, we have a zero-trust approach, we use industry-standard encryption methods, and each device is authenticated before connecting to the network,” said Michelle Mindala-Freeman, director of marketing for CSA. securely online, and Matter supports secure over-the-air updates.”
As far as your home’s data goes, the relationship between you and the various manufacturers still exists, Almond-Freeman said. However, the Matter Privacy Principles govern the protection of data privacy, including minimizing the amount of data transferred in any interaction with Matter and determining the purpose of data exchanges upon request. As a bonus, because trust is built into Matter’s system, you don’t have to constantly type in a password to connect to the ecosystem, CSA’s Lapre explained.
A significant advantage of Matter devices is direct IP control, which allows them to communicate directly with the Internet, and is also a potential security issue. “This makes them vulnerable to hackers, malware, etc.,” says Mitch Klein of the Z-Wave Alliance. “With Z-Wave and Zigbee systems, you have a single point of control for protection: the hub. Klein notes that while the sole purpose of protecting a home is the opposite of what Matter does.
The CSA states that Matter’s approach to security is more modern, offering “strong, flexible (to deal with encryption types, etc. that change over time) and proactive security, with a community of members dedicated to threat modeling and mitigation,” Tobin, President and CEO of CSA Richardson, said. . The approach is robust security, yet offers the benefits of an IP-bound world “instead of security in obscurity”. It’s hard to confirm ownership of this method until the device appears in the wild, but all the correct boxes are marked by design.
Matter has been designed from the ground up to include the connected devices we already have in our homes. “We couldn’t leave the hardware, otherwise the whole program wouldn’t work,” Klein said. “The idea that everyone has to throw everything away and start over doesn’t work.”
Newer Wi-Fi or Thread devices, as well as those running Z-Wave and Zigbee, should be able to upgrade to Matter. This can be done in two ways: by updating the device directly over the air, or by updating the existing product bridge – Philips Hue has committed to launching a smart lighting product line.
Bluetooth devices that do not rely on bridges, such as the security line and Eve sensors, will require a hardware upgrade, meaning older devices will not be compatible. Eve has already released updated hardware for its Bluetooth products and promises to be thread-ready when Matter launches.
Existing Zigbee and Z-Wave devices are unlikely to be upgraded separately because they cannot directly connect to the Internet. Although Thread is based on Zigbee, several devices with Zigbee radios can be updated directly. “IPv6 brings a lot of software burden, and most Zigbee devices can’t support [that],” Klein said. But the hub through which these devices interact can be upgraded or connected to Matter.
But in the future, Matter smart homes should be bridgeless. “The stuff will become cheaper for device manufacturers, for example, it will be cheaper for Philips to make light bulbs based on IP [than to keep building bridges],” Lapre said. “So eventually matter takes over and in the end you get rid of all the bridges.”
Almond-Freeman says this commitment to future updates means you won’t have to wait for Matter to buy a new device. “You should confidently continue to develop your smart home and smart environment,” they argue, but anyone who has ever bought a smart device knows that the promise of future software updates is not a bet you are making.
However, the industry urges not to stop purchasing equipment completely. We advise you to consider products with Thread radios first, and then Wi-Fi, since both have a clear upgrade path. If that doesn’t suit your immediate needs, look for products with hubs or bridges that include either protocol. Also, research the company you’re considering buying to see if it has any obligations to Matter, but do so with caution.
If you want to get started with your Matter smart home, the best device to buy right now is the Thread Border router. Products are currently available from Apple, Nanoleaf and Eero, with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers and displays coming later.
While Matter can work with both Thread and Wi-Fi – meaning you don’t need to have an edge router to use the standard – adding one (or more) will help provide a solid foundation for building a Matter-based network. At home. Since Thread is a mesh network, the more devices you have, the better coverage and reliability. The edge router will connect your Thread and Wi-Fi devices, ensuring that all devices in your home can communicate with each other.
Fortunately, edge routers are not bridges that connect white boxes to routers in the traditional sense. They don’t need an Ethernet connection, just constant power and a Wi-Fi connection. This means that an edge router can be literally anything from a smart plug or smart speaker to a refrigerator, TV or thermostat. Finally, smart homes are starting to make sense.
Update March 18 11:40 AM ET: Added a list of companies that currently have or are developing products that they say will work with Matter. Updated the release schedule for Matter and Matter-enabled products.
Post time: Aug-16-2022