Smart home devices are not just about bringing more convenience into your house, they can also help you save on heating and energy costs, or even alert you when there’s an emergency. The number of smart home brands is growing at a very fast speed. That said, not all smart home devices are as reliable as they claim.
Whether you are dreaming of a house full of smart thing, or just thinking of acquiring some smart light bulbs, you should note the logo you see in the picture above. The logo belongs to the new smart home protocol called “Matter”, a protocol formerly developed under the name “Project CHIP”. A protocol is a set of rules for how different gadgets communicate with each other.
The smart home market today is still quite chaotic, with many products not communicating with each other, and the need for new hubs when installing new products from the same series. There’s even a market for smart home hubs that specialize in translating commands, acting as bridges between entities that aren’t speaking the same language.
You naturally want the products you have installed to understand each other and work together seamlessly, ideally from the same smart hub. This should remain the case for many years to come, without the danger of a new generation of products suddenly appearing that can no longer communicate with your existing ones.
If you see this logo on a smart home product, you can be sure that it can communicate with all other products that have the same logo, regardless of manufacturer or product generation.
“We create marks of trust, and Matter is an important milestone for users in our long history of delivering unifying, secure, reliable, and trustworthy standards for the IoT,” said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance. “I’m very excited to unveil Matter as a foundational element in delivering a truly connected world.”
Yet, what makes the Matter Protocol so interesting is the impressive list of companies behind it. Among the companies saying they will support the Matter protocol with their smart home devices, and who are also members of the same alliance for connectivity devices (CSA), we find Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Signify (formerly known as Philips Lighting). This means, among other things, existing Samsung SmartThings devices and Apple’s HomeKit will all work smoothly with Matter-certified devices. The same goes for their smart voice assistants such as Bixby, Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
The first specification release of the Matter protocol will run on existing networking technologies such as Ethernet (802.3), Wi-Fi (802.11), Thread (802.15.4), and Bluetooth Low Energy.
The Matter logo will serve as an approval stamp, which allows companies and consumers to choose from a wider range of manufacturers to create safe and interconnected homes and buildings, says the alliance behind the Matter Protocol on the new venture.
“We believe that a universal standard in connectivity is critical for the industry and Matter is the key that will fully unlock the connected home for consumers. We are proud to lend our historical expertise in IoT and be part of the pioneering team to develop this revolutionary protocol,” said Samantha Osborne, Vice President of Marketing and Business Operations at SmartThings. “Over the past year, we’ve doubled down on our technology to enhance our ecosystem to not only welcome future Matter products, but to ensure that they work seamlessly with the thousands of products already within our ecosystem.”
“Signify, the world leader in lighting and a long-term leader in the Alliance is excited to be a driving force in the creation and adoption of Matter. We believe this multi-brand interoperability in the smart home will catalyze the benefit and value of smart lighting worldwide via both Philips Hue and WiZ smart lighting,” said George Yianni, Head of Technology Philips Hue, on behalf of Signify.
There are now more than 180 Member organizations of all sizes, across a range of business categories, and over 1,700 Member individuals bringing the Matter specification, reference implementations, testing tools, and certification programs to life. The new logo for the Matter protocol will appear on packaging and supported products only towards the end of the year.