Matter Is the Smart Home Standard You’ve Been Waiting For – How-To Geek
Connectivity Standards Alliance
Nobody likes wasting money and the constantly shifting smart home landscape can give you the feeling that you’ll be left holding the bag. The Matter smart home initiative looks to bring order to the Wild West of smart home products.
Why People Are Reluctant to Adopt Smart Home Gear
While there are small frustrations that come with smart home experimentation, like your voice assistant interpreting your command to turn something off as a request to play a Spotify playlist instead, the biggest frustration comes from the lack of interoperability, the cost of buying into smart home platforms, and, all too, replacing smart home gear.
So if you’ve been reluctant to jump feet first into the smart home market, we can hardly blame you. By the very nature of the work we do here at How-To Geek we’re early adopters of technologies big and small—including all sorts of smart home tech—and we can certainly tell you it’s not always a smooth experience.
Outside of the smart home market, the majority of things we use in our homes are extremely standardized and interoperable. You can easily hook up some old speakers you scored off Craiglist to your stereo receiver, for example, because speaker cables and connectors are well hashed out.
In the same vein, swapping lightbulbs out is simple because the vast majority of residential light fixtures in the United States use the familiar E26 “standard” light bulb socket. If it fits, it works. And it doesn’t matter if the bulbs are made by different companies or if the company that makes the bulb didn’t also make the switch in the wall or the circuit breaker panel in the basement.
That “it just works” experience is the baseline expectation we all have when interacting with our homes, but it doesn’t usually work out quite that way with smart home tech. Instead, the last decade of smart home has been less like the ease of flipping a switch and more like the agony of getting stuck on the wrong side of the Betamax/VHS format war. Multiple times.
Even after years of developments and advancements in the smart home market, the experience is still messy, and far too many people are left with products that either don’t talk to each other at all or only work together through a patchwork of workarounds and their willingness to use multiple apps to manage everything.
Something has to change and, later this year, it will.
How Matter Will Reduce Smart Home Friction
If you read through the last section and it sounded exactly like your experience, either because you’ve been holding off on investing in smart home gear or you have invested and it’s been frustrating, there’s hope for you in an upcoming smart home protocol, Matter.
Matter is a smart home connectivity standard announced in 2019 as a joint effort between the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which includes Amazon, Apple, Google, and Comcast. Since then, hundreds of other companies and organizations have joined in like Samsung, Huawei, IKEA, Lutron, and more. The first Matter-certified products should begin shipping at the end of 2022.
You might not immediately think of Amazon, Apple, and Google as the type to cooperate on something but their smart home platforms, Alexa, Siri, and …….