The Matter smart home protocol: What is it, and why is it a big deal? – Android Authority
If you’re following the smart home space, you may be seeing the name Matter crop up in relation to big brands like Amazon, Apple, and Google. Matter may even sound like a feature you need if you’re hoping to future-proof your technology. But what is Matter, exactly, and why does it matter in a smart home?
What is Matter?
Connectivity Standards Alliance
Matter is a universal networking protocol that lets devices work across all major smart home platforms. If you buy a smart bulb, for example, you shouldn’t have to check if it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit — as long as it supports Matter, you’re good to go.
More than this, Matter devices can form a mesh network throughout your home in which connecting to the cloud is optional, rather than mandatory. Matter is an IP-based technology, but essential smart home functions should work regardless of whether accessories can reach the internet or even whether you have a dedicated hub or bridge. You do need the internet and a Matter hub to control your home remotely. If you’re at home, however, you should be able to control and update Matter accessories with as little as your phone.
Matter is a universal networking protocol that lets devices work across all major smart home platforms.
Mesh functions are possible because Matter operates as an application layer on top of technologies like Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Thread. Of these, Thread is the most important — it’s a Zigbee-based wireless protocol that smart home devices must specifically support, but it’s significantly less power-hungry than Wi-Fi, while still offering the capacity to extend coverage and make it more reliable. Every Thread product operates as its own “border router” to which other Thread accessories connect, without burdening your Wi-Fi network. With Thread’s low power demands, it can be put in something as simple as a light bulb.
Also read: How to use Amazon Alexa
Why is Matter a big deal?
The smart home world can be fractured and confusing, especially if you’re a newcomer. Many accessories that support Alexa also support Google Assistant or vice versa, but that’s not always the case, and Apple HomeKit has fewer compatible products than either of those platforms. It may not be clear why you should choose one platform over another, and even once you’ve made a decision, you’re limited to a slice of the accessory market rather than whatever has the looks or specs you’re after.
Once it becomes widely adopted, Matter should be a win-win for both the public and the smart home industry. The public will get a broader range of options, not to mention more reliable connectivity. Device makers should be able to expand their market and spend less time enabling platforms, while the platform holders themselves will have to worry less about drumming up partners.
Once it becomes widely adopted, Matter should be a win-win for both the public and the smart home industry.
The importance of reliable connections shouldn’t be undersold. Smart home accessories are often scattered across multiple rooms, or outside, and they can periodically drop off your network if they don’t have a solid signal. Dropouts can also be a problem for people who have dozens of Wi-Fi devices, since …….