If you’re a smart-home consumer, there’s an opportunity to simplify your devices by ditching all the different ecosystems you’re currently locked into. This is thanks to a new interoperability protocol called Matter. It’s the brainchild of big players in the industry, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Comcast, Samsung SmartThings, GE Lighting, and Signify. Its goal is to reduce fragmentation in the smart home, make things more reliable and secure, and give consumers a choice of ecosystems without hours of research.
The way Matter works is that it’s an application layer on top of existing protocols like Wi-Fi and Thread, which communicate over your local network. That means your smart plug and lock can talk directly to each other with no need for a cloud service in between. It also allows multiple controller apps to talk to the same device, making it easier to set up automations and control your home.
Whether or not a device supports Matter will be determined by its manufacturer. Currently, it’s known that the Nest Hub (2nd Gen), the 4th Gen Amazon Echo, and the Apple HomePod Mini will support Matter; these will be both hubs and controllers. It’s possible that other hubs and bridges like Philips Hue and Aqara will add support for Matter, too, as will GE Lighting.
Any device that uses these protocols or has an Ethernet port has the potential to work with Matter, but it’ll be up to manufacturers to pursue certification and update their firmware. Many of the companies involved are already announcing they’ll do so, since it might be cheaper to redesign an existing product than to start from scratch with a new one. matter residences