Smart Home Protocol ‘Matter’ Readies for 2022 Connected Operating System Debut

Smart Home

It’s been a busy year for connected living and IoT developments, few as weighty as the quest for an operating system to support smart homes the way that, say, iOS supports all things Mac.

In the lead right now is the Matter protocol, unveiled in May by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which rebranded earlier this year from its former moniker, The Zigbee Alliance.

Like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave and related technologies, Zigbee is a radio-like internet communications protocol that networks and controls low-power, close-proximity devices. The Zigbee Alliance of some 500 companies was formed in 2002.

By comparison, Matter is newer and supports more next-gen connected devices and use cases.

As tech news site Pocket-lint reported, “The goal of Matter … is to be an interoperability protocol with standard data models that ensure smart home devices can work across different ecosystems. So, an Amazon Echo Show display should hypothetically be able to work as seamlessly with a Google Nest doorbell as it does with its own Ring offerings, for example.”

Consumer electronics revolve around standards that for years have been tested, supervised and upheld by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

In this case of smart homes and the tech firms vying to be part of that movement, the CSA is taking the lead on promoting the Matter standard. Per its website: “Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, SmartThings and the Connectivity Standards Alliance came together in 2019 to develop and promote this new standard, joined by fellow Alliance board member companies IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy and Wulian.”

“Now, there are more than 180 member organizations of all sizes across a range of business categories, and over 1,700 member individuals participating in bringing the Matter specification, reference implementations, testing tools and certification programs to life.”

See also: Smart Home Tech Makers Push Standardized Connectivity Protocol

The Matter protocol is generating considerable excitement as it solves for proprietary aspects of smart home devices from different manufacturers, acting as a common device language.

On Tuesday (Dec. 14), The Verge reported that “the problem is there aren’t two or three standards to choose from. There are many, and none of them work very well on their own. Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have all tried and failed to become the primary radio protocol of the smart home. But none have gained enough traction or offered enough flexibility to fit into all corners of the smart home. That’s where Matter comes in.”

Noting that the first Matter-certified smart home devices are expected to be commercially available by late 2022, The Verge quoted CSA President and CEO Tobin Richardson as saying, “this is a Renaissance [for the smart home]. Most of the industry, if not all, has agreed that [Matter] is going to be the way this will happen. They are seemingly all on board with the fact that Matter is the solution to the smart home’s biggest problems — simplicity, interoperability, reliability and security.”

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