Launching the issue of smart home standards: 'Tech companies collaborate a milestone'

Launching the issue of smart home standards: ‘Tech companies collaborate a milestone’

The issue is the result of years of consultations between major tech companies, which so far haven’t always supported each other’s software and voice assistant platforms. More than 280 companies now participate in Matter, including Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon, Signify, LG, Oppo and TCL.

The ultimate goal is that devices from multiple manufacturers can be used seamlessly in the smart home, because the devices can “talk” to each other. With Matter, consumers will soon be able to control all supported devices through an app or a voice assistant. Important devices communicate with each other over the Internet Protocol (IP). The material can also work entirely over the user’s local Wi-Fi network and does not depend on an Internet connection.

New devices and updates

The first new devices that support Matter, such as smart bulbs, thermostats, and plugs, will appear in the coming weeks. Existing devices must be provided with Matter support through software updates by the manufacturers. Some older devices will not be suitable for such updates.

At the beginning of October, the technical specifications of the first version of Matter were completed. Since then, 190 products have been certified to the standard. Among the manufacturers that have already received certified devices, there are smart home brands, such as Tuya, Sengled, Eve, Nanoleaf and Somfy. The first certified products from Matter were shown at the presentation in Amsterdam.

‘Important moment’

The material was developed by the Communication Standards Alliance (CSA), where hundreds of technology companies collaborate. “This is a major milestone and turning point for the Internet of Things. The material has the potential to create a smarter home that is more connected, safer and more useful,” said Tobin Richardson, CSA CEO.

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Marja Koopmans, director of smart home at Amazon, sees the collaboration between a large number of companies special. “This is a huge step forward.”

Install and run

Setting up smart devices can become a lot easier thanks to Matter. Soon the application will be able to automatically display all compatible devices in the network during installation.

Multiple devices can be controlled via a single app, like Google Home or Apple’s Home app, or via voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Devices that work with other protocols, such as Zigbee and Z-Wave, can also be connected via Matter bridges. For example, Philips Hue bridges will receive an update in the first quarter of 2023, after which they will work with Matter. Then most Hue smart bulbs can be controlled using any material controller.

First product categories

The Article 1 specification does not cover all product classes yet. There is currently support for smart bulbs, sockets, switches, thermostats, sensors, locks, air conditioners, blinds, and media devices such as televisions.

Other categories will follow at a later stage, including security cameras and household appliances such as robotic vacuum cleaners.

Interest in smart home is increasing

Interest in smart home among consumers continues to grow. In major EU countries, 35 percent of households plan to purchase a new smart home product in the next 12 months, according to a survey by CCS Insight. In the Netherlands last year 4.5 million families One or more smart devices, 57 percent of the total number of households.

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It is very important that the devices work well with each other inside the smart home. Three-quarters of American consumers say that interoperability between products is an important aspect when choosing a particular smart device.

Smoke detectors and garage doors

In addition to Matter’s support for security cameras and home appliances, the CSA Alliance will continue to support automatic garage doors and gates, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, air quality sensors, motion and presence sensors in the near future. Manufacturers won’t be able to make such devices work with Matter until 2023.

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