Things are looking good for the Matter smart home standard (knock on wood) – Android Authority

If you’re not familiar with why Matter matters for smart homes, we have a primer for you below, but to put it as briefly as possible: simplicity. It’s a universal protocol that will allow accessories to work on any major smart home platform, eventually putting an end (in many cases at least) to the question of whether something is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, or Samsung SmartThings.

Since it was announced, there have been doubts about how widely Matter will be adopted, and whether it’ll roll out smoothly. Or at all. There have already been a couple of delays — it was originally supposed to go live in 2020, and then in mid-2022. The good news is that based on recent developments, it is likely to meet its current fall 2022 target and become de facto in the smart home industry.

Dig deeper: Why the Matter smart home protocol is a big deal

Thread barriers are coming down

Just recently the Thread Group announced the release of Thread 1.3.0, the first version of the technology to enable planned Matter support. What’s Thread? Again, there’s more in our Matter explainer above, but essentially it’s a Zigbee-based wireless protocol that lets smart home accessories form their own mesh network. Each Thread product operates as a low-powered “border router,” meaning less reliance on hubs or Wi-Fi. By extension, Thread devices tend to respond faster.

In theory, there’s no reason you won’t be able to link Nanoleaf lights, an Amazon Echo, and a Nest Hub Max on the same Thread network.

Thread is intended to be the main infrastructure for Matter, even though the latter can technically operate over Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth. That makes Thread 1.3.0 a crucial milestone. It’ll take a little while for most devices to get the update, but in theory, there’s no reason you won’t be able to link Nanoleaf lights, an Amazon Echo, and a Nest Hub Max on the same Thread network in the near future.

Meanwhile, general industry support for Thread is gaining steam. It’s already on products like Nanoleaf panels, Eero routers, and Apple’s HomePod mini, and both Amazon and Google have pledged to bring it to existing smart speakers and displays. Those products are core to many smart homes, making it a low-risk decision for other vendors to get on board.

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Apple doesn’t seem to be dragging its heels

Roger Fingas / Android Authority

Apple is one of the founders of Matter alongside giants like (but not limited to) Amazon, Google, and Samsung. Despite this, and its support for Thread in the HomePod mini and Apple TV 4K, there’s been concern that Apple might put up artificial barriers that defeat the standard’s purpose. The company is infamously resistant to others playing in its walled garden, whether because it might divert sales or threaten the security of platforms like HomeKit.

Those barriers are still a threat, and I’d bet against an Amazon Echo having more than basic functionality through the Apple Home app. Yet there are signs that Apple is taking its commitment to Matter seriously, which is critical if the standard is going to succeed.

For one, Apple made it a point to highlight Matter during its WWDC 2022 keynote in June, …….



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