Matter and The Future of the Smart Home

Imagine a world where setting up your smart home is as easy as switching on a light. That’s the promise of the Matter protocol, a groundbreaking technology on the near horizon. 

Matter is the technology we’ve been waiting for to fulfill the promise of a truly smart home. One that connects effortlessly and functions with optimal efficiency. It will eliminate the confusion and frustration often associated with smart home devices, namely compatibility and integration. With Matter, all your smart devices will speak the same language, making it simple for everyone to create a connected, convenient, and smart living space. This article will explore how Matter is set to simplify our lives, turning the dream of a seamless smart home into a reality.

What is Matter?

Matter is a universal language for smart home devices, making them work together better, more securely, and more reliably. It’s a common language amongst devices, regardless of the manufacturer or type of smart home device. 

Let’s explain it with an analogy.

Imagine you’re in a classroom where everyone speaks a different language. It would be hard to work together, right? That’s how it is with smart home devices like lights, locks, and thermostats. They’re made by different companies and often don’t speak the same “language.”

Matter is like teaching everyone in the class the same language. It’s a standard that allows all these devices to understand each other, no matter who made them. This makes it easier to connect and control different devices in your home. For example, you could use a single app to control your lights, thermostat, and security system, even if they’re made by different companies.

matter protocol display at ces 2024 which smarter homes australia attended

How will Matter make a difference to my Smart Home?

With Matter, life at home will become easier in many ways. Smart home devices are indeed designed to bring simplicity to your home life, but the roadblock has been integration. Individually, devices are smart, but until Matter, creating an ecosystem where all devices link and communicate with each other has been challenging. Matter removes this road block, which is why all the major smart home product suppliers are eager to make it happen. We are too! 

Here’s how Matter will make a difference to you:

  • Easy setup:

With Matter, setting up new smart devices will be much easier. You won’t have to worry about whether a new device will work with your current setup. You can control all your devices from a single app, regardless of the brand, making managing your smart home easy

  • Improved reliability:

Matter aims to ensure that smart home devices communicate more reliably. This means fewer disconnections or issues where one device can’t “talk” to another. Your smart home will work more smoothly and consistently.

  • Ecosystem integration:

With Matter, devices from different brands will work better together. For example, your smart thermostat from one company could easily communicate with smart blinds from another company to regulate your home’s temperature efficiently.

  • Enhanced security:

Matter focuses on strong security features to protect your home network and personal data. This means your smart home will not only be convenient but also safer from hacking or unauthorised access.

  • Flexibility and scalability:

As new smart home devices are developed, they’ll be built to work with the Matter protocol. This will give you the flexibility to scale up as you introduce new smart home devices to your life. Let’s say you start with a digital garage opener and it’s operated by your home assistant, Amazon Alexa. Six months later, you add smart lighting. With Matter, this is an easy addition. Now you have control of lighting and your garage through a single app. They can be connected so when you leave the house through the garage, you can switch off the lights while the garage door is closing. This is how a smart home is designed to function, conveniently and efficiently. And with the devices speaking the same language, Matter makes it possible.

  • Real energy efficiency:

Finally with all smart home devices connecting and talking to one another, they can work towards a common goal of home energy efficiency. Imagine a cold morning. Your thermostat is set to turn on the heat when it’s below a certain temperature, rather than stay on through the night when it’s not needed. Or when the temperature outside is hot and to conserve energy you want the blinds down to block out the hot sun. With Matter, it will be much easier to set each device regardless of the brand and the operating system, to achieve the common goal of energy efficiency.

  • Wider selection:

Since Matter is a common standard, more companies will make compatible devices. This means you’ll have a wider range of products to choose from, allowing you to find devices that fit your needs and budget without worrying about compatibility issues. If previously the device was only compatible with Amazon Alexa but you have Google Home, with Matter, this problem doesn’t exist. Matter is the bridge that makes any device compatible.

What Smart Home devices are already Matter compatible?

All the major smart home ecosystems (Apple, Google, Amazon & Samsung) support and are integrated with Matter. The next phase underway is for the individual smart home devices to support Matter. Many of the top brands, and the ones we partner with, are already there. 

Here’s the status on Matter within the major categories:

  • Smart Lighting Systems:

Matter will enable smart lighting solutions to integrate more seamlessly with other home automation systems, allowing for more intuitive and energy-efficient lighting controls based on occupancy, time of day, and user preferences.

  • Smart Aircon Upgrades:

With Matter, smart thermostats can communicate more effectively with other home devices like smart windows or air purifiers, creating an optimal indoor climate. This integration can lead to more efficient energy use and improved indoor air quality.

  • Home Security Systems:

Matter will enhance the functionality of home security systems, allowing for smoother integration with cameras, sensors, and alarms. This results in a more comprehensive and responsive security system, providing real-time alerts and better protection.

  • Smart Appliances:

Appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines can benefit from Matter by syncing with other smart devices for improved efficiency and convenience. For example, a smart oven could start preheating based on your dinner schedule, or a washing machine could run at the most energy-efficient times.

  • Voice Assistants and Smart Speakers:

These devices will become more versatile with Matter, as they’ll be able to control a broader range of devices across different ecosystems seamlessly. This means more streamlined voice commands and interactions.

  • Smart Door Locks and Access Controls:

Matter’s adoption will make smart locks and access systems more reliable and secure. They’ll be able to interact seamlessly with other smart home systems, like lighting and alarms, for enhanced security measures.

  • Smart Sensors:

Environmental sensors for temperature, humidity, and air quality will work more cohesively with other smart home devices, enabling a more responsive and comfortable living environment.

How do I set up a Matter-compatible Smart Home?

If you’ve already installed some smart home devices then you’re already on the path to having a Matter smart home. The main thing you need is a Matter Controller including one of the popular home assistants, Google Home, Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings, and any Matter compatible products. All these companies have embraced Matter, recognizing its potential and incredible benefits for universal adoption and integration. 

 

Will Matter compromise my privacy and security?

Matter takes security and privacy seriously. In a number of key ways it will significantly enhance the security and privacy of smart home users.

Firstly, by establishing a unified standard for all compatible devices, Matter ensures that every device follows the same robust security protocols. This consistency is crucial because it closes gaps that often exist when devices from different brands interact. With Matter, all devices in your home will communicate using a secure, common language, greatly reducing the risk of security breaches. This means you can add new smart devices to your home without worrying about weakening your overall security.

Secondly, Matter places a strong emphasis on end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption means that all communication between your devices is encoded, making it extremely difficult for outsiders to intercept or access your data. This is particularly important in a smart home setup, where sensitive information like your daily routines or home security settings could be exposed. 

Together, these features will help protect your personal information, enhance your privacy, and give you peace of mind in your smart home.

Who is behind the Matter protocol?

The Matter protocol is led by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), previously known as the Zigbee Alliance. It’s been in the works for years and is a significant collaboration among major technology companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon, and others. These companies see the potential of creating a unified standard for smart home devices, regardless of the brand or manufacturer. The key to the widespread adoption of Matter is that it is open source and royalty-free. 

Being open source means that the source code for the protocol is publicly available, allowing developers and companies to review, use, modify and contribute to it. This openness fosters innovation and collaboration across the industry.

The royalty-free approach ensures that companies can implement the Matter protocol in their products without having to pay licensing fees. This is critical in its widespread adoption, removing barriers to entry for even the smallest smart home device manufacturer. 

Both of these approaches are set to fast track the implementation of Matter and propel it to become the standard across the industry. 

smarter homes australia attending ces 2024 in las vegas

What did we learn about Matter at CES 2024?

At Smarter Homes Australia we pride ourselves on staying up to date with the latest in the home security and home automation industry. This is why we attended CES 2024 in Las Vegas this January. Again Matter was a popular topic. It hit the scene hard at CES 2023, but this year, it was slightly more low key with the focus on AI taking over. But nonetheless it was still a hot topic with some major developments announced. These were our key takeaways:

  • LG TVs will act as Matter controllers later this year. This feature will allow users to set up, view and control all their Matter-compatible devices from the TV.
  • Matter compatibility will be released on significantly more products in 2024 including security cameras, more appliances and additional smart home technology.
  • Significantly more brands will be adding to their Matter portfolio, some of which include lighting, robovacs and much much more.
  • New companies have entered to support the development of matter which will provide further innovation and a quicker rollout.

Why Matter has been worth the wait.

Matter is like having a universal remote that works with all your different smart devices, regardless of brand or type. It will mean you can mix and match products from various brands, and they’ll all work together smoothly. For example, your Apple phone can easily control a Google smart speaker or an Amazon smart bulb. You’re no longer locked into a system and are free to pick and choose as you please. 

The era of truly integrated smart homes is on our doorstep, and Matter is the key to opening it.

Matter & Smart Home FAQs

  • Will my existing smart home devices be compatible with Matter?

As explained earlier, if your smart home device is Matter compatible and linked to your home assistant, it’s Matter compatible. Whether the individual device is compatible or not makes no difference. There are plans to update many existing products to Matter over a simple over-the-air (OTA) update. Like your phone updates, the software will update and the product will become Matter compatible instantly. 

  • When is Matter rolling out to the market?

Matter is a part of all the major home assistants – Google, Apple, Amazon & Samsung. It will also become a standard feature built into many smart home devices such as security systems, appliances and more in 2024. The speed of implementation is thanks to it being open source and royalty-free making it easy and low cost for smart home device manufacturers to include in their products. 

  • Will Matter become outdated, or is it future-proof?

With all the big tech companies supporting it, the Matter protocol is here for the long term. As more smart home device manufacturers come on board, Matter will be the standard at the product level as well. This is great news for everyone, not just us as a business. We don’t want you to not enjoy the benefits a smart home delivers because you’re concerned the devices will become obsolete in no time. Matter makes your smart home future-proof.

Make your home safer & smarter.

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