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What is Matter? Smart home tech explained

What is Matter? Smart home tech explained


Jitendra Soni

Matter is a new standard that works with various smart home platforms. Here’s everything you need to know about the platform.

If you’ve bought a smart home device recently – including smart speakers, smart lights or displays and you have noticed a new logo or a certification called “Matter,” then you’re not alone.

Interestingly, this logo is present on devices from different brands like Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and others.

But, what is Matter, and why does it matter for your new smart home setup? We break it all down.

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What is Matter?

Govee

Matter is an intermediary layer that allows all of your smart home tech to communicate with each other. Smart Home devices are meant to simplify our lives by automating many manual tasks, but these smart devices have a key problem.

Each of them is tied to platforms like Apple HomeKit, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and others. Which means they might not be able to communicate with each other freely. So, you could face issues controlling a Nest Thermostat via an Echo Dot speaker because they are on different platforms.

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There could be two possible solutions to this issue. Either you remain tied to one platform and do not buy devices out of it or a third-party service that enables the virtual “handshake.”

Matter is that additional layer that acts as an intermediary and lets different smart home platforms communicate seamlessly.

This open-source interoperability standard is maintained by the Connectivity Standard Alliance (CSA) and was initially called Project CHIP (Connected Home over IP until it was renamed Matter in 2022.

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With brands like Apple, Google, and Amazon already on board the Matter alliance, you can ask Siri on your iPhone to stream your favorite track on the Google Nest smart speaker or one of the Echo Dot speakers at your home.

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Besides, compatibility with Matter solves yet another hurdle many face while using smart home devices. Traditionally, these devices are bound with a smartphone, and when the smartphone isn’t available, most of these smart devices can only be controlled using voice commands. This is possible if you have compatible smart home hubs to control other devices.

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Now, you can use smart switches that look similar to your traditional light or fan switch to control these devices, thus removing smartphone dependence.

How does Matter work?

Google Nest Hub and Echo DotDexerto

Since Matter is an invisible layer, it doesn’t have an independent app. In fact, it helps reduce the app sign-ups. Thanks to Matter, you can use any smart device with any Smart Home platform.

While almost all new smart home devices are Matter enabled, you need a Thread border router. These devices act as a hub and let you control other devices. Some of these devices that play the dual role of Matter controller and Thread border router are:

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  • Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Eero 6, 6 Plus, Pro 6, Pro 6E, PoE 6, and PoE Gateway
  • Apple HomePod (2nd Gen)
  • Apple HomePod Mini
  • Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen and 3rd Gen with Wi-Fi + Ethernet)
  • Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)
  • Google Nest Hub Max
  • Google Nest Wifi and Nest Wifi Pro
  • Samsung SmartThings Station, Hub v3, and Hub Dongle
  • Samsung Smart TVs (CU8000, CU7000, MNA89MS1BA, NEO QLED 8K and 4K)

What smart home devices are compatible with Matter?

Smart buttonsFlic

Almost any new smart home device would work with Matter. However, as of October 27, 2023, the below devices are compatible with Matter.

  • Light bulbs and light switches (including smart buttons)
  • Plugs and outlets
  • Locks
  • Thermostats and other HVAC controllers
  • Room air conditioners (i.e., window units)
  • Air purifiers
  • Fans
  • Blinds and shades
  • Robot vacuums
  • Refrigerators / Freezers
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Televisions and media devices
  • Smoke and CO alarms
  • Safety and security sensors
  • Air quality sensors (PM1, PM 2.5, PM 10, CO2, NO2, VOC, CO, ozone, radon, and formaldehyde)
  • Bridges

According to CSA, Matter support for devices like security cameras, dryers, garage door controllers, EV chargers, and ambient motion and presence sensors will be rolled out soon.

Does my current Smart Home product support Matter?

Echo Dot speakerAmazon

Almost all new products support Matter, and most older products also support the new standard. While Matter is backwards compatible, adding Matter compatibility depends on the hardware and the maker offering relevant updates.

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If you already have old smart home speakers and other devices, ensure you have the latest firmware running on them to ensure additional features and Matter compatibility.



The article was first published here

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