Matter is a new smart home protocol created by some of the biggest names in tech: Apple, Amazon, Google, Comcast, Samsung, and others. It's designed t
Matter is a new smart home protocol created by some of the biggest names in tech: Apple, Amazon, Google, Comcast, Samsung, and others. It’s designed to reduce the fragmentation of smart home devices by providing a way for different brands and types of devices to communicate with one another. Matter uses Wi-Fi, Thread, or Ethernet to connect devices and share data, and it relies on your local network rather than the internet to operate. That means your devices will work faster and your information stays more secure, and it also eliminates the need to send device data to a central server.
The good news is that Matter will work with a wide range of devices at launch, including smart light bulbs and fixtures, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats and other HVAC controls, smart shades, connected locks, and media devices like TVs. It’ll also work with third-party hardware, like smart doorbells and security cameras, that support multiple standards.
Even better, Matter devices don’t require a hub to operate, although you will need a device or app that is compatible with the protocol. Many existing smart speaker, display, and home automation platforms will be able to act as Matter controllers, with more coming soon. You’ll also be able to upgrade existing devices that don’t have Matter compatibility with an over-the-air firmware update. For instance, a number of Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers will be able to become Matter controllers with an update, as will the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) and Apple’s HomePod Mini. Other devices, like Eve’s smart plugs and Yale’s locks, will add Matter support with swappable modules or by adding Thread radios.
You’ll still need to use a platform, though, to set up routines and automations. A Matter controller acts as the language that your devices speak to each other, and you’ll choose a platform that manages those commands. Your devices will then listen for those instructions and carry them out, whether that’s turning down the thermostat when you leave the house or making sure your lights turn off when you lock your doors.
Since the first version of Matter is so new, the only real downside is that not all smart home devices will be compatible with it right away. That’s because manufacturers are still deciding whether or not to support the protocol, and many of them will only support it on their latest products. The good news is that the big players in the space (including, eventually, all major smart home platforms) have committed to supporting Matter in the long run. So it should only be a matter of time before most of the smart home world joins in. If your device doesn’t have Matter support, you may be able to add it in the future by connecting to a hub or bridge that supports other standards, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, and getting it Matter-certified. Philips Hue and Aqara are two companies that have pledged to do this. matter residences