The smart home market is in a state of flux, and one of the reasons for that is the emergence of Matter. Matter is a new open standard for the connected home, designed to bring better interoperability and security to the smart home space. It does that by working alongside other existing standards, like Zigbee, rather than creating its own competing ecosystem of devices and apps. Matter also aims to reduce reliance on the cloud by making communication between devices more local, so you won’t be as reliant on your home Wi-Fi.
Unlike previous smart-home standards that put a single hub in the center of your home network, Matter makes it possible to connect any device to your home. The smart hubs, speakers, routers and digital displays from brands like Apple Home, Google Nest, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, GE Lighting and Aqara will act as Matter controllers that can communicate with any other device on the network.
Because Matter is built on top of existing technology standards, it’s easier for companies to adopt. Several brands have already updated their products with Matter compatibility, including Philips Hue, Eve Systems (with its new Zigbee-based smart bulbs), Nanoleaf and Sengled. CES 2024 saw other big players like Apple, Amazon, Samsung and Google announce new hubs and devices that will be Matter compatible.
A full suite of new Matter-compatible smart plugs, lights and switches are also on the way from companies like Ecovacs, iHome, Mui Labs and GE Lighting. And the upcoming Schlage Encode Plus Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt will include Matter compatibility in its hardware.
As the number of Matter-compatible devices grows, it’ll be easier to build a comprehensive smart home. And that may mean we’ll see a gradual end to the schism between the various smart-home ecosystems.
Until then, though, you’ll want to make sure any new devices you buy or use are compatible with Matter. You can do that by checking for Matter compatibility on a product’s packaging or in its online description. You can also look for a Matter logo in the settings menu of any smart speaker, hub or app you’ll be using to control your new devices.
But the biggest reason to be excited about Matter is its commitment to security. The open-source project has created a set of security principles that all devices must adhere to, laying out how they’ll share data and how that information can be secured. It’s the first time a group of smart-home companies has created a set of security guidelines for their products. And that’s a huge win for consumers. The CSA’s Mindala-Freeman says it should be the model for all other smart-home industry standards. matter residences