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What is the new Matter standard for smart home technology?

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Configuring and pairing smart home technology has always been a bit limiting. If you find yourself using devices from different ecosystems, chances are that what you think makes things easier actually makes them harder. Matter is about to change that. This guide will explain what Matter is and why it is so important for the smart home user.

In its current state, building a smart home with devices that connect to each other can be a bit tricky. Your best bet is to stick with an ecosystem governed by a single standard, like Google Home, Apple Homekit, or Samsung SmartThings.

If you’ve followed this guideline, chances are your light bulbs, switches, smart blinds, and other devices will talk to each other and work the way you want them to, as long as they’re made by the same company.

The shortcomings of today’s smart home products really start to show 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 work well with each other. For example, some brands are exclusive to an ecosystem. Eve, for example, has always only supported HomeKit, which means customers with Android phones can’t use or control those devices.

What is the problem?

What the Connectivity Standard Alliance has planned to do with Matter is to connect these smart home products – whether or not they come from different manufacturers or only work with certain standards – and develop a bridge between them, connecting them through a simplified standard that is easy for every device to understand.

The material was officially launched about a month ago Thanks to an initiative by Google and other smart home makers to bridge this gap between devices and ecosystems that don’t necessarily work well with each other. Thanks to this, more companies are able to produce technology without having to obtain certification with a dozen different standards. Rather, everyone can focus on one or two and know that their products would work with hundreds of others.

Currently, Matter is committed to supporting around 200 different products, including some of Philips Hue and Google. The first devices are the Google Nest range, including the Nest WiFi Prowhich functions as a thread edge router.

what is Matter smart home

How Matter Works

Gathering hundreds of products and connecting them in a way that forces them to play nice isn’t easy, but the idea can be simplified into a basic process.

Essentially, matter is a kind of intermediary. Any action performed by a device goes through Matter. From there, it can be controlled from other devices quickly and without delay. He can do this in two ways. The first is the traditional Wi-Fi connection, which sends a signal through a local Wi-Fi network to other devices. The second method is called “Thread”, which is a fast networking protocol that works in conjunction with your Wi-Fi network.

What is the ‘Thread’ protocol?

Threading is a common feature of mesh networks because the two go hand in hand. With this, Thread devices always have a strong connection because multiple devices can emit a low energy signal, maintaining a strong and constant connection. You can think of the Thread protocol as another route into your local network, with some devices choosing to take this route with less traffic and higher speed limits.

Smart home technologies that rely on battery power, such as sensors, are fantastic candidates for the Thread protocol because they don’t require a lot of power and can be maintained more easily. In reality, most devices would be better off working with Thread over Wi-Fi, although more companies should adopt it in their products.

Of course, to use Thread-enabled devices, you would need a Thread edge router, which is a device that can tie those devices to your internet connection. Currently, Google Nest Hub Max, Nest Hub (2nd Gen) and Nest WiFi Pro all work as Thread edge routerswhich means you can start building your Matter empire now.

what is the matter of smart home
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Are Matter devices easy to set up?

Even though the standard has been officially in effect for a limited time, companies like Google are already ready to support it. With that, Android is already in the works with the rapid integration of Matter and setup, bringing Fast Pair to the smart home, just as it would be used to pair headphones or a smartwatch.

This essentially means that Matter-enabled devices will be extremely easy to install and use with Android. Here are the general steps you’ll need to follow with most Matter devices:

  1. Put the device into pairing mode and wait for the Fast Pair prompt to appear for your new device.
  2. Scan the QR code.
  3. Choose your favorite controller app.
    • To note: It’s either Google Home or Samsung SmartThings or another app.
  4. Connect your Google account.
  5. Choose the location of the device and give it a name.

Of course, we haven’t had a chance to really try, although we expect the actual process to be close. As complicated as setting up some smart home products can be, we expect Matter to give you a little relief when it comes to installing new light bulbs or whatever else you might have.

Is the material still used?

As mentioned, Matter is a product of the majority of smart home technology manufacturers and companies. Support for this new standard means the products are compatible with more homes and are much easier to use, making it a win-win for everyone. This breaks the barrier for many people, as they don’t need to stick to a single standard like Google Home or HomeKit.

With that, the current list is long, consisting of more than 15 different companies with certified products. Beyond that, even more have announced support for the Matter standard coming soon. Of course, this is only the first step, because no smart home product outside of Eve’s queues use Matter for the moment. We expect that to change relatively soon.

What types of devices does Matter support?

Currently, Matter has a plan in place to support a few device categories. Here is the current group that will be compatible with the standard:

  • Bridges
  • Controller
  • window coverings
  • locks
  • HVAC controls and sensors

One obvious glaring exclusion is the cameras. Due to security issues with controlling security cameras, there is still some work to be done. Beyond that, almost every other category is covered.

The sudden wave of matter integration is surprising, even if it is more than welcome. With major companies integrating the Matter standard into existing and new devices, we really hope that smart home technology becomes more accessible and easier to use for everyone, no matter what devices you use.

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