Setting up a smart home has traditionally not been an easy task. Gadgets like smart locks and plugs work in separate apps and connection types (usually local mesh or Wi-Fi). And in some cases, devices are locked down to working with just one ecosystem, like Logitech’s CircleView doorbell camera only works with Apple’s HomeKit.
So there is a clear need for a way to connect all devices in one place to make owning and operating a smart home easier. Enter Matter, a new smart home standard that streamlines pairing and operation of smart home devices across all platforms. This expands your choices, from the types of devices you can buy to the platform you use to control them. If you’re considering getting into the Internet of Things (IoT), Matter’s official launch last week should make smart home adoption even more attractive, and if you’re already invested, your life could be easier. Is.
What is the case and how does it work?
Meter is an interoperability protocol developed under the Connectivity Standards Alliance. You may not have heard of the organization, but you’re certainly familiar with its members, which include smart home tech manufacturers such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and more than 400 other companies. . The universal and open nature of Material allows IoT devices to connect and communicate securely regardless of who builds them. For example, while you may prefer to use Amazon Echo to control your smart thermostat at home, a substance-powered device lets you control it from a competitor’s platform like the Apple HomeKit. will allow When you’re away—all without going through an extra-elaborate setup process. Currently, Matter works with lights, locks, HVAC controls, plugs, blinds and sensors. The organization plans to expand support to more complex devices such as security cameras, robot vacuums and larger appliances.
If you’re looking to buy a smart home device, you’ll notice that the product description and packaging itself show which home systems it’s compatible with (as you’ll see under the boxes in the top right-hand shot). While some devices work on different platforms, you’ll have to go through the trouble of setting up the device with its own manufacturer’s app (the left image shows just one page of dozens of smart home apps). on my phone), create an account, and then connect it to each ecosystem of your choice to be recognized. This process is messy and especially frustrating when you want to set up automated routines on devices in separate ecosystems. This piece leads to the way individual devices talk to each other. While your lights can connect to a mesh hub using Zigbee or Z-Wave, a smart plug can rely on Wi-Fi that eats up your bandwidth and network speed for other devices. Reduces Although it is less popular, some gadgets also work natively over a Bluetooth connection.
The matter is settled by employment. A new low-power local mesh network technology called Thread is designed specifically for IoT devices. Thread uses 802.15.4 radio wave technology, in addition to Wi-Fi, to communicate with up to 250 devices simultaneously without the need for a bridge, such as Zigbee or Z-Wave devices. Each device becomes a node, and they all back off each other to extend coverage, powered sources such as a smart home hub thread act as border routers, remote to your local network. Connects to Wi-Fi for control. Thread is faster than Wi-Fi and acts as a universal language that connects smart devices across different platforms. Since gadgets can talk to each other locally, there is no need for further operations in the cloud. Without relying on the Internet, requests to turn off the lights or lock the door are very fast. More importantly, you can control your smart home if your network goes down.
Thread allows devices to play nice in smart home management software and removes the hassle of configuring the same device in different apps for automation. You can easily connect the device to one of your preferred home control apps, and it will be recognized by other systems seamlessly. But Matter also supports Wi-Fi to connect to existing or more demanding devices—low-bandwidth gadgets like sensors and smart locks will rely on Thread, while Wi-Fi can handle heavy demands like streaming a security camera’s video feed. Will handle.
Substance makes building your smart home more accessible and affordable.
Material-powered devices wouldn’t stop working if their manufacturer went out of business, making it easier to get started without downloading multiple apps, and ultimately driving down the price of gadgets by encouraging competition. Is. You no longer have to deal with device compatibility restrictions, so you can make decisions about a product based on its features or value rather than whether it works where you want it to. But that begs the question: Should you wait to buy Meter-branded gear?
If you haven’t already started investing in a smart home, buying new meter-certified devices ensures you’ll have the most up-to-date connectivity for the next few years. November, on the other hand, sees some of the sharpest discounts on smart home gear. So, if you can get a deal on something that isn’t compatible with Matter right now, don’t limit yourself because there’s a chance it might eventually support the protocol. Many existing devices will gain material compatibility through software updates (provided they support the 802.15.4 thread protocol), and you can save some serious cash. If you’ve already moved out of your home or own a smart hub, material compatibility may not be necessary for you.
More than 190 devices already support the case, with more to come
Within the next year, all major home ecosystem apps and smart home hubs are slated to support Matter. All Amazon Echo and Echo Show smart speakers and displays (save for the first-generation Echo Dot and Echo Tap) will get meter support over Wi-Fi via a firmware update. The same goes for Google Nest smart speakers, routers and displays. Even some years-old Apple devices will be able to connect through Matter as long as they’re running iOS 16, watchOS 16, or tvOS 16. And if you already have a Universal Control Center panel, like this one from Brilliant, a quick check on the manufacturer’s website will tell you if it will work on the Matter with updates coming in 2023.
Now, while many of the devices you control with the hub are set to become Substance-compatible next year, you should double-check to make sure. Some will not have the hardware to support it. This is because these low-bandwidth devices cannot support the thread frequency or do not have onboard storage. This is done on a case by case basis by each manufacturer. So far 190 certified devices for material quality are ready or in production. While more is expected, this initial rollout is strong. Companies like Eve have supported the Thread protocol for a while now, so its current device lineup is already material-friendly. And there are Matter versions of high-performance options from our testing, as below.
As the substance rolls out completely in the coming months, keep an eye out for gadgets that support the standard. Choosing a metered version of a product can save you time and effort. And if you haven’t started building your smart home yet, there are few better times to start.
Hunter Fenwell, our resident consumer tech expert on everything from smart homes to VR gaming headsets, has product explainers, in-depth reviews, and more to help you get the most out of the latest electronics. For buying guides have years of knowledge. Throughout college, he covered and reviewed the latest gadget releases for sites like Tom’s Guide, Laptop Magazine, and CNN Underscored. If he’s not elbow-deep in the latest hardware, you can find Hunter on one of Long Island’s many beaches, in Manhattan, or gambling for his paycheck.