Supported by “Everyone”.
This week, the Communication Standards Alliance (CSA) officially convened Released version 1.0 for the standard known as Article.
This is good news for anyone who has some interest in smart homes, or at least has some gadgets at home that could benefit from connecting with each other.
After years of negotiation and development – and many delays – the first version of the new smart home standard has been completed. For now, this is still primarily a paper launch, as Matter has yet to be implemented in current and upcoming products.
It remains to be seen how well the material will work. But the theory behind it is simple:
Matter is the kind of superior standard that will ensure that all Matter compatible tools will work with all other Matter compatible tools – regardless of manufacturer or product generation.
The little special thing about Matter is that “everyone” is listed in the notes. Among the more than 550 tech companies that support the new standard, we also find giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, Ikea, Signify (which, among others, are behind Philips Hue and WiZ) and Samsung.
In theory, this means that in the future our home may not have a set of different smart hubs to control the gadgets of different manufacturers. Instead, we should deal with one person, as long as they support the relevant wireless technologies.
A recent example is Google’s new Nest Wifi Pro, which hit the market at the end of the month. By all accounts, Apple’s upcoming iOS 16.1 will support Matter via the Home app. Signify has promised to update as many lights as it can (Philips Hue bulbs, for example), and we know Ikea is coming up with a new smart hub called the “Dirigera” in the fall. Strictly speaking, it should have been on the market already, but it was postponed until the end of November.
We cannot mention a “question” without addressing the subject. When the material is considered the actual standard or language used for communication between devices, Thread is one of several possible communication channels – along with Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy.
Thread mentions a lot from Zigbee – which has been used heavily by Signify (with Philips Hue) and Ikea, among others. Both Thread and Zigbee are based on the same technical standard called IEEE 802.15.4 – which uses the 2.4GHz frequency and has a maximum transfer rate of 250 kbit/s.
In other words, this is a modest wireless standard that is not suitable for transmitting sound or images. But it uses very little power and automatically creates a mesh network that helps scale. At the same time, Thread differs from Zigbee by adopting the IPv6 Internet Protocol.
Devices with Threads are likely to become a large part of the Matter standard, and to manage them you need something called a Thread Boundary Router. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean that you have to spend a lot of money on more devices, as there are many tools that already have this built in.
From Apple we have the HomePod Mini and the latest Apple TV 4K. From Google, we already mentioned the Nest Wifi Pro, but this frontier router is built into the older Wifi model as well. Same with the second generation Nest Hub.
With control options already on the market and more on the way, all that’s left is to push Matter-compatible devices into the stores. Fingers crossed that the CSA team has already succeeded in putting together a plan that works as well in practice as it does on paper.
“Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst.”