Whether you’re buying your first smart home or adding more devices, the compatibility of the products in your house should be high on your list of considerations. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on new smart technology standards like Matter, which is designed to reduce device fragmentation and improve interoperability between the many different technologies in use in your home.
The big selling point of Matter is that it works entirely locally, without going to the internet or a central server (though it can talk to a cloud service if you want). It uses local networks — Wi-Fi, ethernet and Thread, an IP- and mesh-based protocol similar to Zigbee. Wi-Fi is built into most newer devices, including the second-gen Nest Hub Max and Google Home speaker and display, the Apple HomePod Mini and the 4th-gen Amazon Echo, as well as routers from Asus, Netgear and Linksys. Thread is found in products such as the Nanoleaf smart lights, Tuya smart speakers and locks, Aqara’s smart plugs, Schneider electric gear and more.
At launch, Matter supports a small number of categories of devices: smart light bulbs and fixtures, smart plugs and switches, thermostats and other HVAC controls, smart shades and connected locks. The CSA says it will add support for more types of devices in future updates, and it’s possible that smart security cameras could be part of that mix, too.
A Matter-compatible device needs a controller, which can be a smartphone app such as Apple Home, Google Assistant or Alexa, an existing smart-home hub like the Nest Hub Max or Samsung SmartThings, or a third-party option such as Aqara’s M1S and M2 hubs or Yale’s swappable modules for locks. In addition, some manufacturers will need to make their products Matter-compatible through hardware changes such as those used by Eve’s smart plugs and Yale’s locks. matter residences