Do you regularly use smart devices such as Arlo, Fibaro, Philips Hue, Netatmo, Google Home, Amazon Echo…? Then you have certainly noticed that they aren’t always compatible with each other. “Why?” you might ask. Because of the different communication protocols and proprietary apps used. At best, interaction between devices of different brands is limited, at worst, impossible. It is then difficult to establish scenarios to synchronize them and make them work together. Developed by the Connectivity Standard Alliance (CSA), Matter, the new universal connection protocol, could very well change the game… Its goal: to improve the interoperability of home automation devices and make it possible to set up and control all connected objects from a single interface.
Matter: towards simplified home automation
More than just a new home automation protocol, Matter is a universal language. Reliable and secure, it aims to make all connected objects in the home compatible and interoperable. It is in fact a common and unified communication standard designed to simplify the daily use of home automation.
In addition to its universality, Matter has a major advantage in the smart device market. It is supported by the Connectivity Standard Alliance, which brings together the biggest names in IoT (Internet of Things). Among its promoters are Legrand (Netatmo), Schneider Electric, IKEA, Philips… as well as web giants Google, Apple and Amazon. The former produce smart devices, home automation modules and smart lighting. The latter are major players in the field of smart speakers with integrated voice assistants.
Slideshow: Google, Alexa, Homekit
How does Matter work?
Matter is based on the popular ZigBee home automation protocol. It also uses several existing communication technologies such as Thread, Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi. It isn’t just another protocol. Matter should be seen as a shared language intended to be adopted by the majority of smart devices. This will allow Matter certified devices to communicate with each other effectively, even if they are not from the same manufacturer.
In addition, Matter will be able to run multiple devices at the same time, via a wireless network. This will be done without dependence on an Internet connection or the cloud, and even without a hub. Thread technology allows connected objects to communicate directly with each other. It is a more reliable, faster and more responsive solution to control your smart home. In addition, it offers complete autonomy regarding cloud services.
To assist consumers, Matter certified equipment should have an easily identifiable logo. They will also have a configuration code to easily connect them to the existing network of connected objects.
Which smart devices are compatible with Matter?
In theory, all connected objects on the market can potentially be certified and work with Matter. Matter is the perfect solution for a wide range of applications, including smart speakers with voice control, smart lighting, security systems, surveillance cameras, roller shutters, connected locks, opening or presence detectors, thermostats or connected sockets… Matter streamlines the system and makes the information transmitted by all devices readable. Google Home, Apple HomeKit and Alexa home automation platforms will be able to identify any Matter certified device connected to the network. This means that in the very near future, it will be possible to create scenarios with devices from different brands very easily with a single control interface!
Slideshow: connected objects
A single interface for different protocols
One of the most exciting aspects of Matter is the ability to use and control any smart device from any platform. No more juggling multiple applications to control devices of different brands! Better still, you won’t have to wonder if a particular device is Google Home, Homekit or Alexa compatible before you buy it. All Matter certified smat devices will be configurable and controllable from each of these three interfaces.
As an added bonus, most existing smart devices can be updated to work with Matter. This is for example the case of the Nest connected thermostat. It should soon be updated to work with Matter and be controlled with any certified platform.
As you can see, Matter makes home automation and smart objects more accessible. The goal is to make these systems easier to use for the general public. With the support of smart device and consumer electronics industry giants, as well as backing from Google, Apple and Amazon, Matter should spell the end of closed ecosystems that are incompatible with each other.