What is the theme, and why are so many smart home companies supporting it?
Setting up and pairing with smart home technology has always been a bit limiting. If you find yourself using devices from different ecosystems, there’s a good chance that something you thought would make things easier is actually making it more difficult. The command is set to change that. This guide will explain what Matter is and why it is so important to a smart home user.
In its current state, building a smart home with interconnected devices can be a bit challenging. Your best bet is to stick with one ecosystem that is subject to one standard, like Google Home, Apple Homekit, or Samsung SmartThings.
If you follow this guideline, there’s a good chance your light bulbs, switches, smart blinds, and other devices will talk to each other and work like you want them to, as long as they’re made by the same company.
Existing smart home product bugs start rearing their heads when you start buying products from different manufacturers, even if they both work with Google Home or Apple HomeKit. You’ll find that devices can work in some ways but often don’t play well with each other. For example, some brands are exclusive to one ecosystem. For example, Eve has always only supported HomeKit, which means that customers with Android phones are unable to use or control these devices.
What is the matter?
What the Connectivity Standard Alliance set out to do with Matter is connect smart home products—whether or not they’re from different manufacturers or only work according to certain standards—and develop a bridge between them, connecting them through a simplified standard that’s easy for each device to understand.
Matter was officially launched about a month ago by an initiative by Google and other smart home manufacturers to bridge that gap between devices and ecosystems that don’t necessarily play nice with each other. In doing so, more companies can produce the technology without having to be certified by dozens of different standards. Instead, they can each focus on one or two and know their products will work with hundreds of others.
Currently, Matter has pledged upcoming support for about 200 different products, including some from Philips Hue and Google. The first few devices are the Google Nest suite, including the Nest WiFi Pro, which acts as a Thread boundary router.
How does the material work?
Bringing hundreds of products together and connecting them in a way that forces them to play nice is no easy feat, but the idea can be simplified into a basic process.
In essence, matter is a kind of medium. Any action taken by the device passes through “matter”. From there, it can be controlled from other devices quickly and with relatively no delay. There are two ways to do this. The first is the traditional Wi-Fi connection, which sends a signal over a local Wi-Fi network to other devices. The second method is something called “Thread”, which is a fast network protocol that works in conjunction with your Wi-Fi network.
What is the “topic” protocol?
Thread is a common feature of mesh networks, as the two go hand in hand. With that said, Thread devices always have a strong connection as multiple devices can emit a low-power signal, maintaining a strong and stable connection. You can think of the Thread protocol as another route in your local network, with some devices choosing to take this route with less traffic and higher speed limits.
Smart home technology that relies on battery power, such as sensors, are great candidates for the Thread protocol, as they don’t require as much power to use and are more easily maintained. In fact, it’s best that most devices work with Thread over Wi-Fi, though more companies will need to adopt it in their products.
Of course, in order to use Thread-enabled devices, you’ll need a Thread border router, which is a device that can connect those devices to your Internet connection. Currently, the Google Nest Hub Max, Nest Hub (2nd Gen), and Nest WiFi Pro all serve as thread boundary routers, which means you can start building your Matter empire now.
Are critical devices easy to set up?
Although the standard has been officially active for a limited time, companies like Google are already on the lead in supporting it. With that said, Android is already set up with Matter’s quick integration and setup, making Fast Pair to a smart home just like using it to pair earbuds or a smartwatch.
Essentially what this means is that Matter-enabled devices will be very easy to get up and running with Android. Here are the generalized steps you’ll need to take with most Matter devices:
- Put the device into pairing mode and wait for the Fast Pair prompt for your new device to appear.
- Scan the QR code.
- Choose your favorite console app.
- Noticeable: This is either Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, or another app.
- Link your google account.
- Choose the device location and name it.
Of course, we haven’t had a chance to really give this a shot, though we expect the actual process wouldn’t be that far off. As complex as some smart home products are to set up, we expect Matter will provide some relief when installing new bulbs or whatever you might have.
Is the material actually being used yet??
As mentioned, Matter is a product of the majority of smart home technology manufacturers and businesses. Support for this new standard means that products are compatible with more homes and much easier to use, making it beneficial for everyone. This breaks the barrier for a lot of people, because they don’t need to stick to just one standard like Google Home or HomeKit.
With that said, the current list is large, consisting of over 15 different companies with certified products. Moreover, he announced more about the upcoming support for the material standard. Of course, this is only the first step, as there are no smart home products outside of the Eve lineup that use Matter yet. We expect this to change relatively soon.
What types of devices does Matter support?
Currently, Matter has a plan in place to support a select few categories of devices. This is the current set of groups that will be compliant with the standard:
- window coverings
- door locks
- HVAC controllers and sensors
One notable exception is the cameras. Because of the security concerns behind controlling security cameras, there is more work to be done. Beyond that, almost every other category is covered.
The sudden wave of matter integration is surprising, though more than welcome. With major companies integrating the Matter standard into existing and new devices, we really hope that smart home technology will become more intuitive and easy to use for everyone, no matter what devices you’re running.
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