If you’ve been following our CES 2022 coverage, you’ve seen one name in particular pop up around almost every smart home ad: Matter. The Matter movement is built around the concept of a single, unifying standard for smart home devices. It seeks to simplify the operation and configuration of the smart home, destroying the proverbial walled gardens that have flourished in the market.
Currently, more than 220 different companies – including the smart home big three of Amazon, Google and Apple – have all joined the Matter Alliance and are committed to taking an open source approach to development. The number of companies was only 180 in May. In the span of seven months, more than 40 other companies joined the movement. In total, there are over 2,400 engineers in all of these companies working to make the smart home even smarter. It’s a lot of support.
Matter’s initial release is still at least months away (estimated at the end of the second quarter of this year), but there are 134 unique products from 53 different companies that are expected to be some of the first to launch.
Which companies have joined Matter?
More companies have committed to working with Matter than I could reasonably list here, but a few of the big names include:
- Philips Hue
- To hit
Keep in mind that there are also over 200 other companies that are part of Matter.
Why is matter important?
Matter focuses on three main points: interoperability, security and configuration.
I’ve said before that I’m not the standard audience for smart home technology. Most people don’t have as many smart home apps on their phones as I do (21 at last count, and that’s after deleting several.) The average smart home probably has at least six apps spread across one. robot vacuum cleaner, smart lights, a security camera, etc. Imagine, for a moment, if all these different devices could be viewed and controlled from one app – and also configured from that same app.
There would be no need for proprietary apps that take up space on your phone. The smart home is only as smart in its dumbest part, and jumping between lots of apps just to perform basic tasks (especially if devices can’t be controlled through a hub app) is certainly less than smart. .
Data privacy is more important than ever. As we invite more and more technologies into our homes that can listen to us and follow us, we need the assurance that all the information we collect will be kept safe. Matter uses a number of security measures including blockchain ledgers and zero trust to ensure a streamlined connection between devices. Advanced security and encryption protocols will help protect user data and prevent unauthorized access.
At present, it is unclear whether smart home technology is easy to install. Some are as simple as activating it and then accessing it through Thread. Other devices make you jump through hoops while rubbing your stomach and patting your head. Matter promises to simplify device setup – no more circus auditions needed just to operate a smart device. It’s a welcome addition and one that will help demystify smart home technology for those who aren’t very tech savvy.
When Matter first releases, it will support door locks, a host of different types of sensors, thermostats, lights, smart hubs and bridges, garage door openers, smart plugs, and smart plugs. smart televisions, as well as blinds. Unfortunately, cameras, water leak sensors, robot vacuums, and home appliances aren’t supported at launch, but they will be in the future.
The future of the smart home lies in ease of use
The ultimate goal of the smart home is to make your life easier on all fronts. Basic setup will always be required (unless someone drops a robot that can open packages for you.) The market is on its way, but it still has a ways to go before it fully arrives. The advent of proprietary software between different companies makes sense from a business perspective; after all, every business wants to lock consumers into its ecosystem to maintain cash flow. However, this does not benefit the customer.
Matter can change that. I hope that will change that.
If the smart home is to keep growing and advancing, then more people need to join. However, until it’s easier to use and implement in every home, there will still be an element of bullying. People who don’t think of themselves as tech experts often think that setting up a smart home device is too complicated.
Concerns about always-listening devices only exacerbate the problem. Between the promised ease of use, higher levels of security, and the freedom to choose the devices you want in your home, Matter is the most significant trend to emerge from CES 2022.