Explained: What is Matter and why does it matter for the smart devices ecosystem – Times of India
Our homes are getting smart; if not today, they are poised to get one day. There are dozens of smart home devices – bulbs, switches and possibly every other home appliance is going smart, and they add a pinch of smartness to our homes. However, a roadblock is still stopping our smart homes from becoming smarter.
Most of us have a smartphone that comes with a smart assistant, or some of us even get a smart speaker – to control the smart devices in our homes. The big four – Amazon, Apple and Google and Samsung – have their digital assistants – Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Bixby – and protocols. Well, every device is not compatible with every assistant app.
So, you need to find a specific device compatible with your smartphone’s assistant or need a separate companion app. And this could get very tedious at times because you need to have a very specific device which works and a app or assistant which works together.
There are workarounds to make these devices interoperable, but that is not easy. But how good it would be if you didn’t have to search for a specific device, and every device works with every voice assistant. The best would be to have one common companion app to control them all. What if we tell you that it is going to happen soon.
Yes, you heard it right. In 2019, a group known as Project Connected Home over IP or Project Chip formed a smart home standard, now known as Matter. What is big about this is that it has some big names on board, including Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung. And it tries to solve one of the biggest problems – interoperability – by unifying protocols from these big tech corporations.
So let us understand what exactly Matter is and how it will shape our future smart homes.
What is Matter?
Matter is a new unified standard for IoT or smart home devices which promises to bring together different standards under one umbrella. As mentioned, it began as Project Chip in 2019 by Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung SmartThings and CSA (formerly known as Zigbee Alliance).
It is an open-source protocol, meaning companies can use it for their smart home devices. Currently, over 170 companies are a part of Matter, including Comcast, Ikea, Huawei and more.
The goal of Matter is simple – to make things easy for customers and make different smart home devices work together without fuss.
How will Matter work?
Matter is built upon the Internet Protocol (IP), enabling IP-based networking across different smart home devices, mobile apps and cloud services. Initially, the Matter protocol runs on Wi-Fi and Thread network layers while establishing a connection via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). However, things could change in the future as technology advances.
In the future, Zigbee devices will also be compatible with Matter. Also, we can expect Z-Wave to join, but there is no word on that now.
What is a Thread network? It is one of the connectivity methods used by Matter. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are only for setting up the devices. We can explain Thread as a mesh network protocol that will allow different smart home devices to connect together, eradicating the need for a common hub.