Today, every phone is a smartphone. And the same thing is happening with homes. Every residence (new & existing) out there is going to be smart in the next 15 years.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been undergoing tremendous growth. We have been seeing rapid miniaturization of sensors and electronics, more and more tech giants are stepping into the industry, and conversations about home automation are picking up globally.
But one problem stood out all along that hindered the progress...
The fragmentation of smart home standards. Every company had its propriety communication protocols, its own app, and compatible voice assistants and did not recognize devices from outside the ecosystem.
For example, devices that work in the Amazon Alexa ecosystem might not be compatible with Apple HomeKit or those that work with Apple HomeKit might not support Google Home. So on and so forth.
And who paid the price? The end users of course.
You end up using multiple apps and hubs to control different smart appliances. Such a nuisance, isn't it?
Enter Matter, the revolutionary smart home connectivity standard developed and supported by giants like Google, Apple, Samsung, and Amazon, among others. This open standard, developed by more than 550 companies as part of the Connectivity Standards Alliance, aims to provide advanced interoperability between different smart home devices and brands. The Matter Protocol ensures that smart devices can communicate with each other seamlessly, enhancing user experience and overall functionality.
What is the Matter Protocol?
Matter is an advanced interoperability protocol that allows smart home devices to work together without the need for third-party bridges or proprietary communication protocols. Devices bearing the Matter certification will be able to communicate across brands, platforms, and protocols, streamlining the smart home experience.
The Matter Protocol is a new and improved smart home standard that will provide interoperability between different devices and brands in the smart home world. The protocol will allow smart home devices to communicate with each other in order to facilitate better user experience and overall functionality.
In simple terms, Matter will provide a certification for these smart home devices. The devices that bear this certification will be able to work together without the need for third-party bridges.
Why do we need a new smart home protocol?
The Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible to create smart homes without rewiring, or hassle.
Anyone out there who has automated their home or is planning to do so agrees that smart home devices should work together seamlessly. If you are getting started on your smart home journey, read our guide: Beginners Guide to Smart Home Automation
However, the industry is extremely fragmented at the moment. Different companies create their own individual smart home devices, many of which use different communication protocols.
Every homeowner shares the dream that someday they’ll be able to automate their homes with smart devices based on their quality and functionality and not compatibility.
The lack of interoperability means that devices don't work efficiently or effectively. Different devices from different companies are unable to work alongside each other. The central hubs end up doing a lot of the heavy lifting, causing them to be less efficient than they could be.
By replacing the current standards with a new smart home protocol, it will be possible to resolve some of these issues and create a smarter, more efficient smart home. That is the main aim of the Matter protocol: creating standard data models for smart gadgets from different platforms that will work seamlessly without restricting to a single ecosystem.
How will Matter Help in Home Automation?
The Smart Home Matter Protocol will allow different devices to communicate with each other seamlessly across brands, devices, and protocols. Devices will be able to share data with each other, facilitating more efficient energy consumption, better user experience, and more functionality overall.
Matter challenges the status quo by creating a new standard for the smart home that allows different devices to communicate seamlessly.
Matter uses blockchain technology to achieve this feat, making it easier for all devices to communicate and transfer data. At present, many of the IoT devices that are used in smart homes can’t communicate effectively because they use different standards. This has led to a lack of standardization, less efficient devices, and a less holistic smart home experience.
When will the Smart Home Matter Protocol be released?
Matter is open for certification at last. Matter 1.0 was released on October 4, 2022. The official launch event happened on November 3, 2022.
We can start seeing Matter-compatible devices in the market soon.
Will Matter Protocol Integrate With Thread?
Thread, a radio protocol developed by Nest in 2014, enables smart home devices to connect to the internet and communicate with other compatible devices.
Read more about Thread in this guide curated for you.
Matter protocol developers have chosen Thread and Wi-Fi as the main protocols that Matter-certified smart home devices can communicate over.
Matter-certified smart devices that involve low data use (eg. Sensors) will connect with others over Thread. The Matter-certified smart devices that have access to power and involve higher data usage will connect via Wi-Fi.
What Does the Introduction of Matter Protocol Mean for Zigbee and Z-Wave?
Since the home automation industry began, Z-Wave and Zigbee have been the most commonly used connectivity standards. So with the introduction of Matter, most homeowners wonder what this means for the Z-Wave or Zigbee-enabled devices.
It’s important to note that these wireless protocols are used in a wide range of smart home devices in the market today. They are incorporated in all kinds of devices, from high-end automation setups to simple devices such as sensors and motion detectors.
What appeals to most homeowners about Z-Wave and Zigbee protocols is that it’s not as power-intensive as Wi-Fi or limited to a short-range like Bluetooth.
Since Matter-certified devices will primarily connect over Thread and Wi-Fi protocols, Z-Wave and Zigbee will not be involved in this project.
In case you’re looking to purchase any new smart devices this year and it can’t wait for the arrival of the Matter-certified devices, you can still go ahead. These devices will serve you for a few years before you can upgrade to the latest and more inclusive ones.
However, the Matter protocol developers have assured buyers that they will keep supporting bridges and protocols from the older smart home devices. This is not enough information to go on, but it gives some hope to homeowners who use Zigbee and Z-Wave smart devices. They might not end up replacing these smart devices after all.
What Does the Introduction of Matter Protocol Mean for Bluetooth?
Another thing that has been confusing homeowners as we enter into the era of Matter is what is bound to happen to Bluetooth-powered smart devices. Since Bluetooth joined the cluster of radio protocols recently one would think it has a future in the smart home industry.
Well, Bluetooth as a wireless protocol isn’t going away anytime soon, even with the impending developments. There are so many smart home devices in the market today that rely on Bluetooth for connectivity.
This makes it a very valuable wireless protocol in the home automation industry now and even in the future. If you own any smart home devices that rely on Bluetooth, you don’t need to get rid of them yet. They’ll keep on working for the time being as we wait to see what Matter has in store for automation.
Bluetooth isn’t a complicated wireless protocol compared to Wi-Fi. That’s why it is incorporated into many devices from computers and smartphones to televisions and many audio gadgets. It has not been announced yet but maybe with time Bluetooth could be incorporated into the all-new project CHIP under the Mater protocol.
What Happens to the Existing Smart Home Products?
This question entirely depends on the manufacturer of the devices. For example, companies like Philips Hue are updating all their products to be Matter-compliant as soon as possible. Also, some companies have not provided any updates to their customers about the new developments.
If you have old smart home devices, it’s likely they won’t stop working right away. However, you’ll experience a loss of support and overall depreciation over time.
The introduction of Matter opens up new horizons for the smart home industry, bringing together leading tech companies to create a unified standard for seamless smart home connectivity. For homeowners seeking advanced functionality and an enhanced user experience, Matter is the way to go. Embrace the future of smart home automation and discover the possibilities of Matter-certified devices.
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Drop your contact details here if you want to know more about the Matter or Wozart product range.