Here’s why Matter will and won’t matter for your smart home – iMore
The smart home has come a long way — from a movie fantasy to a fairly mundane reality for a lot of regular folks in recent years. However, even though smart home devices have certainly become a lot more affordable and increasingly popular over the last decade, the process of getting set up with a smart home is still a lot more complex than it needs to be.
The main problem today is that there isn’t just one way to do a smart home with the major platform owners — namely Apple, Amazon, and Google — all having different ideas about how a smart home should function. These brands have different walled gardens for smart devices to operate in and they don’t speak to each other, meaning that buying decisions can be overly complicated for shoppers, while end-users get locked into a particular brand’s ecosystem.
The upcoming Matter standard appears to be poised to be the next step in the evolution of the smart home, removing even more of the barriers to entry, making systems more interoperable, and ultimately making the whole smart home concept more accessible to more people. Its end goal is an Apple-esque “it just works” system, but will Matter actually transform the smart home as we know it? It’s unclear.
Why do we need Matter?
Source: Connectivity Standards Alliance
In order to understand the benefits Matter could bring, we really need to look at why we need such a unifying standard.
Right now, there are three major players when it comes to smart home standards: Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. Of course, there are hundreds of brands making all manner of smart home devices, but the chances are they’ll each plug into one or more of these systems eventually.
In all likelihood, a person will pick one smart home platform and stick with it, only buying products that work within that system. Right now, you can mix and match smart home systems in your home but you would have to set up your smart accessory with both Alexa and HomeKit if you wanted to be able to control it with a smart speaker from either brand.
Matter sets out to make these different ecosystems more interoperable.
It’s also not all that straightforward for the average consumer to pick up something like a smart bulb in a store and know how well it’s going to work, nor is it easy for a consumer to move between smart home ecosystems if they want to experience something else.
The status quo is also not ideal for manufacturers of smart home accessories who have to develop their products to work with multiple different smart home systems if they want to offer wider compatibility. For HomeKit in particular, that’s meant that far fewer devices are available on the market as most makers settle on Alexa and Google Assistant as the platforms of choice.
Matter is designed to solve these problems by unifying smart home connectivity under one label. Now, before you start picturing the classic XKCD comic on the proliferation of standards, Matter actually has the buy-in of the major players in the smart home space, including Apple, Amazon, Google, and many more, so it’s highly likely that it will become a reality.
Whether or not it lives up …….