What Is Matter? The New Smart Home Standard, Explained – PCMag
At its 2022 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced plans to add Matter support to iOS 16 this fall. The announcement has a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering: What is this Matter thing? If you’re in that camp, you’ve come to the right place.
Smart home devices are supposed to make your life easier and more convenient, but installing a bunch of different internet-connected devices that don’t work together might complicate it even more. That’s why Matter, a new connectivity standard that aims to simplify the smart home ecosystem by allowing everything to seamlessly communicate, is such a promising development.
Let’s break it down. At its most basic, Matter is a global and open-source standard that promises to allow internet-connected devices from different manufacturers to simply and securely communicate.
Based on the internet protocol (IP), Matter promises to help manufacturers more easily build devices that are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and other smart home and voice services, according to the nonprofit Connectivity Standard Alliance (CSA) that oversees the standard. The idea is to foster interoperability among smart home devices, regardless of brand, so you can seamlessly control them via your platform of choice.
“This year, Matter will both signal the end of walled gardens in the smart home and open the field for better experiences by any manufacturer,” Tobin Richardson, CEO of the CSA, said in a statement(Opens in a new window) during CES 2022.
Apple echoed those sentiments(Opens in a new window), saying that Matter will enable “a wide variety of accessories to work together seamlessly across platforms, helping fulfill the true vision of a smart home.”
Who Is Behind Matter?
Matter was born from a working group called Project Connected Home Over IP (Project Chip), which Amazon, Apple, Google, and other major players in the smart home space launched in collaboration with the Zigbee Alliance at the end of 2019.
In a 2019 blog post(Opens in a new window) announcing the project, Google said the goal of Project Chip was to “build a new standard that enables IP-based communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services.”
In May 2021, the Zigbee Alliance changed its name to the Connectivity Standards Alliance and rebranded Project Chip to Matter.
As of January 2022, more than 200 companies are involved in the development of Matter. The CSA says “thousands” of engineers at participating companies are creating the specification and certification. The first release of Matter will run on Wi-Fi and Thread(Opens in a new window), and use Bluetooth Low Energy.
When Is Matter Coming Out?
The first Matter-certified hardware products were originally expected to launch in 2021, but that target has been pushed back two times. Now, Matter 1.0 is slated to launch in the fall of 2022.
The CSA announced the latest delay in March(Opens in a new window), explaining that it needed to extend the testing and validation period to “further improve code quality and stability and accommodate the breadth of Matter devices and platforms.” The CSA says it plans to distribute a “feature complete” pre-release version of the Matter specification to all Alliance members in the middle of the year before the official release this fall. The Matter seal of approval is expected to start appearing on new products before the end of the …….