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What is Matter? Everything to know about the smart home standard

Matter hopes to bring all smart home products together under one standard.

matter smart home hub
Image: KnowTechie

Compatibility is at the top of the list when you’re building a smart home. You want your products to work together and be accessible through multiple hubs. That’s where Matter comes in.

Many of the tech giants have their own smart home ecosystems and products. Google Assistant controls Google products. Amazon Alexa can be used for Amazon devices. And Apple uses Siri to drive its products.

But none of these systems work together out of the box. Each system has its own devices that fit some sort of need in your smart home. Matter looks to help bring all of those devices and ecosystems together under one standard.

What is Matter?

what is matter
Image: Connectivity Standards Alliance

In simple terms, Matter is an overarching standard that combines different devices and ecosystems. It’s an open-source standard that any smart device can adopt to create a more seamless experience.

Several major tech companies (including Apple and Google) have already committed support for Matter for their products.

With Matter, you’ll be able to buy any compatible smart home device, such as a lightbulb or door lock, and set it up for use with any platform.

In other words, Matter connects other smart home ecosystems together for ease of use across all of your smart home devices.

You can set up any Matter-supported product with any smart home ecosystem, from Apple HomeKit to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and more.

Matter is maintained by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. The open-source platform already works with hundreds of tech companies to develop and sell products under a single standard.

And with a software development kit (SDK) available on the CSA website, companies can create their own products that are compatible with Matter’s standard completely free of charge.

When did Matter release?

matter 1.0 arrives
Image: Connectivity Standards Alliance

The initial Matter 1.0 standards officially launched in early October 2022. The standard was originally supposed to come out in 2020, but several delays saw the 1.0 version pushed back until October 2022.

That means that you’ll start to see smart home products advertising Matter standard support. Some manufacturers may be able to upgrade older devices to support Matter.

Others won’t have the ability to update to the standard. Instead, they will have to launch new products if they want to fit into Matter standards.

What smart home devices work with Matter?

fifth generation echo dot sitting on bookshelf near flower
Image: Amazon

Matter is still relatively new, and the number of products that will be immediately available to work with the standard is limited. However, many companies are already committed to supporting Matter.

So, you’ll likely see many more smart products start to advertise support for Matter. Companies like iRobot, Wyze, TCL, and more have already committed support for Matter.

Additionally, many smart home hubs will work with Matter. So you can potentially use those hubs to control other products that might not work with Matter standards directly.

And if the hub works with Matter, you can still create your smart home network using non-Matter standard devices under a different hub.

Products from the three major players will all already work natively with Matter. That’s devices from Apple, Google, or Amazon.

Chances are, if you have any smart home devices, you likely have something from one of those companies. So you can start setting up your all-in-one ecosystem today using Matter-compatible devices.

What about other smart home standards?

nest pro wifi
Image: Google

Of course, Matter isn’t the first smart home standard. Those in the space have likely heard of other standards like Samsung SmartThings, Z-Wave, and others. And those standards aren’t going anywhere.

Manufacturers of smart home products will continue to make their devices compatible with multiple standards. That compatibility will continue to help sell products to users with varying systems.

But Matter is the first standard that is a result of several major companies working together. The big players, like Amazon, Google, and Apple see the benefit of a common standard.

And with that support and the hype surrounding its official launch, Matter is in a good position to become the most common standard used across most smart home products.

Matter could bring all smart home products together

google nest hub max smart display
Image: Google

Currently, Matter is still a pretty new standard in the smart home world. It remains to be seen if it can accomplish what it sets out to do – bringing the massive, complicated smart home market together under a single standard.

But for now, it looks like the new standard has a lot of traction. Its connection to major smart home platforms, along with hundreds of other tech companies, gives it an edge that will help more products continue to adopt Matter standards.

Imagine a smart home where you no longer have to worry about compatibility with any of the products you buy. That’s what Matter is looking to accomplish, and it seems like it’s well on its way.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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