At the CES show a few weeks ago, Matter was announced and now it has become the talk of the town in the Smart Home world. Let’s dive deep into what the fuzz is all about and whether it really matters to use Matter!

What is Matter?

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Matter_logo.jpg

Matter is a smart home standard founded by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) and they released the first version which is Matter 1.0 last month. An official launch event is expected to happen on the 3rd of November. {Update: Below is the full event}

 

So, what is this new smart home standard? In simple terms, Matter will completely change the way you set up and communicate with your smart home devices. Let’s say you wanted to build a smart home. What would you need to buy first? Well. First, you need a smart home controller like from Allonis (myServer 6), next you need to choose a bunch of smart home devices that will talk with the hub that you bought. These devices can be smart bulbs, smart door/ window sensors, smart switches, etc. When it comes to choosing the devices, there comes a big challenge of choosing the right devices that will work with the Hub you bought. For example, if you bought an Apple HomePod, all the smart home devices that you choose to buy will have to be supported by Apple HomePod. This means you are stuck inside one ecosystem.

Source: https://www.fibaro.com/en/homekit/

Matter will revolutionize this by introducing a single standard for all devices, which means, smart home devices that are only supported to work with Apple HomePod will also work with other hubs such as Amazon Echo and Google Nest. This means you only need to check whether a particular device is Matter compatible. If that is, then you can simply connect it to any Hub that is Matter-ready. Currently, many companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon have signed up to support Matter and since Matter is open-source it is convenient for these companies to integrate Matter into their devices. Let’s wait and hope for another revolution in the smart home world with Matter!

source: https://www.cnet.com/videos/matter-smart-home-platform-could-help-your-devices-play-together-in-2022

How Does Matter Work?

Matter will use Thread or Wi-Fi for communication between smart home devices and hubs. When Matter-ready devices start rolling out, most of the devices will rely on Thread because it offers low power and low latency with a wireless mesh networking system. However, some devices will rely on Wi-Fi as well. Also, Matter will use Bluetooth for device provisioning which will make the entire set up process seamless.

Here is what Matter Network Stack looks like:

Source: https://moorinsightsstrategy.com/ces-2022-matter-and-thread-win-the-iot-connectivity-wars

Let me walk through what a simple setup process of a Matter device with Wi-Fi will look like.

  1. Turn on the Matter device
  2. Connect the mobile phone to the home Wi-Fi network and turn on Bluetooth
  3. Scan the QR code on the Matter device
  4. The phone will send the device credentials over to the Matter server on the same network
  5. The matter device will connect with the Matter server

Do I Need to Buy New Smart Devices and Hubs to Experience Matter?

As mentioned before, Matter devices and Hubs will release very soon. But this does not mean you have to buy them at launch if you already have smart home devices. Device manufacturers will push firmware updates to existing non-Matter devices and hubs to support Matter. For example, for a hub to be Matter-ready, it should mainly have Thread and Wi-Fi support.  Currently, hubs such as Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod already have that. So, they will be Matter-ready in the near future. In the beginning, only the following device types will be supported by Matter and more devices will be supported later on.

  • Light bulbs
  • Smart plugs and switches
  • Smart thermostats
  • HVAC controls
  • Smart shades
  • Smart sensors
  • Connected locks
  • Media devices, including TVs.

How Is the Current Progress of Matter Support From Device Manufacturers?

As mentioned earlier, more and more device manufacturers are developing devices to support Matter and these are the updates we can see from some of them so far.

Apple

Apple has already rolled out an update to their HomePod to support Matter. This means you can use Apple HomePod as a Matter Hub. Check the news here.

Amazon

Amazon has announced that they will release the Matter support to their smart home devices at the end of 2022. Check the news here.

Google

Google announced on Wednesday at its I/O 2022 convention that they are planning to launch Matter at the end of 2022. Check their official post here.

SONOFF

SONOFF is currently working on Matter and they have announced here that they will launch the first Matter product in Q4 of 2022 or early 2023.

Philips

Philips Hue is a very popular product when it comes to smart lighting. It seems from this post that Philips Hue will also be updated with Matter, but a release date is not mentioned.

Tuya

Tuya has announced here that on August 25th, they officially launched their latest product solutions that will support Matter. But still, the Matter-ready devices cannot be seen in their official stores. Seems like they are still working on it.

There are more and more manufacturers apart from the above, who are working on Matter support. So we can see a large Matter network building out in the near future!

How Can Matter Benefit You?

What are the communication protocols that we currently use with smart homes? They are mainly Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-wave. If we have all these other protocols working, why do we need to focus on Matter? Well. This is where we can talk about the benefits of Matter over others. Technically, Matter is a smart home standard and it is not an entirely new wireless communication protocol. Matter is an application layer over existing Wi-Fi and Thread protocols as mentioned before.

Inter-compatibility

The main benefit of Matter is the inter-compatibility that we talked about before, which is the ability to mix and match different smart home devices with different hubs.

Privacy and security

Matter will also make sure all the data is kept locally and nothing is sent to the cloud. This is very useful for privacy and security.

Easy to setup

As explained before, it is very easy to set up Matter devices. It takes only a couple of seconds to add any Matter device to a Matter hub with the help of Bluetooth.

Reliable for a long time

Using Matter means you are not relying on cloud providers to control their sensors. This means if the company shuts down and goes out of business, you can guarantee your Matter devices will keep working,

Long battery life

Since Matter will mainly use Thread, it will save a lot of power, making the devices work for years without changing batteries.

What Does This Mean for myServer 6?

When it comes to smart home solutions, Google Nest, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod are the big players in the industry. However, when it comes to robust smart homes, Allonis's myServer 6 is one of the most capable and certainly the most customizable.   myServer 6 today does not support Matter....but it definately will when there are enough Matter devices on the market to make it relevant.  Let us know if you need support.