Apple, Amazon, and Google rarely have a reason to work together, but the companies are teaming up for a new smart home standard, now called Matter, that will make it easier for you to buy devices that work seamlessly together without thinking about it.
The Matter branding, which emerged from what was formerly known as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), will help you figure out which smart devices are compatible with the Matter standard, which already works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. Soon those devices will be branded with a symbol that looks like three arrows all pointing at one another—think of the Spider-Man meme, but make it smart home.
The launch of Matter also marks the end of the Zigbee Alliance. It’s now known as the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), focusing on uniting manufacturers and other companies around Matter. There’s also a push for releasing Matter’s open-source code to device makers already on Github.
Matter uses a combination of Ethernet, wifi, Thread, and Bluetooth LE to connect. Its ultimate function is to standardize how gadgets identify themselves and what they can do together, essentially taking the heavy lifting off of you to set it all up. Currently if you have a dozen devices connected to your network with similar antennas, they might not have the software to sync with one another.
As reported by StaceyonIoT, a video released as part of the rebranding shows multiple devices working together through a feature called Multi-Admin:
The video’s narrator calls the feature Multi-Admin, and promises that “users can connect devices to multiple apps and multiple ecosystems locally, securely and simultaneously.” It also sounds like users will also be able to grant control of devices at an individual level, which means that connecting a Nest account to an Amazon Echo might not require adding all of the devices associated with that Nest account. This could make it easier to put a controller of some sort in a guest bedroom letting your guest have access to some home controls, but not all of them.
It sounds like this could be an automated feature that’s as easy as logging into an app and allowing it to scan your network—akin to how you’d log on to a wifi network.
The first Matter-compatible gadgets emblazoned with the new logo should arrive before the end of 2021, with more expected in 2022. Philips Hue is already on board, offering to release a software update in the coming months to make its massive lineup of smart bulbs and lighting compatible. Other early adopters include Google, Comcast, Nanoleaf, Schlage, Samsung SmartThings, and Texas Instruments.