“Material” can solve the biggest problem in smart homes
Illustration: Aida Amer / Axios
Halcyon Day when all our smart home devices are talking to each other – and reduce our energy bills – take a giant step forward on Thursday by introducing issuewhich is a widely supported communication standard.
why does it matter: Many consumers are wary of purchasing Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart light bulbs, blinds and door locks, for fear that they are difficult to set up or not work with each other.
- It’s supposed to make setup quick – and solve interoperability issues between different manufacturers’ products.
News leadership: in splashy AdvertisingThe consortium developing Matter said it has officially released version 1.0, and that hundreds of products have been certified — ensuring we’ll start seeing the “Matter” logo on shelves soon.
- More than 300 companies have joined so far, including strong backers like Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung, with more signups every day.
- 190 products already (or soon) approved.
How it works: Customers will be able to mix and match smart home products from different manufacturers – robotic vacuums, light switches, doorbells, thermostats, appliances, Entertainment Systemsetc. – and the material will (ideally) ensure that they are all talking to each other.
- At Matter’s press conference, Marja Koopmans, director of health and smart home at Amazon, described her current smart home setup: “The lights come on when I get down in the morning, and go off when we check out as a family.”
- Thanks to Alexa, “My espresso machine will be heating up by the time I go downstairs, talking to my TV when I want to watch the next episode of ‘Rings of Power.'”
- When she and her family leave for the day, “Our smart lock secures the house, the thermostat goes down, and I can keep an eye on our pet bunny and our 9-month-old pessimistic black Lab through my cameras.”
- Koopmans said Matter will make these amenities more easily available to all consumers — while providing more room for customization.
🔌 Play Status: On the product side, Amazon – for one person – Says It will have “17 different Echo devices, plugs, switches and lights with Android setup” working with Matter in December.
- Some of these devices have already been launched and are being updated with Matter support. Several new tools will follow in the coming year.
- Manufacturers have shown great interest in obtaining certification for their products.
- “We already have 20 new companies stepping in, putting their weight on the integration of new devices,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance, which has overseen the development of Mater. “And this is shifting from new devices, medical devices to toys.”
what are they saying: “This is a major inflection point for the Internet of Things,” Richardson added.
- With Matter, “Smart home devices will feel as fast and reliable as an old light switch, while doing so much more.”
This will enable use cases And testing it – I’m not kidding – we can’t even imagine today,” added Manish Kothari, senior vice president of software development at Silicon Labs, which heats Matter in its chips.
💡 Bonus: The issue could be “good news for your energy bill,” said Sitao Ma of Schneider Electric, which sells the smart home energy management system.
- When all the products of the energy-absorbing family talk to each other, “we can monitor ‘what happens’, we can control it and we can maximize optimization.”
Yes, but: As Axios Tech Managing Editor Scott Rosenberg puts it, “You never know when these benchmarks will take off or break.”
- Matter’s release has suffered from delays, and her governing organization, formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance, has transformed over time.
- Most consumers haven’t caught IoT fever yet: Only 39% of American households own at least one smart home device, according to Ben Wood of tech research firm CCS Insight.
- Ease of use is only one concern – security and privacy are other things.
Bottom line: There’s plenty of brainpower, money, and goodwill flowing into Matter and its baffling promise of interoperability for smarter devices and homes. This is a promising sign.
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