Matter is the new name for the interoperable, secure connectivity standard for the future of the smart home. The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance, recently announced the name change.
The proliferation of connected objects continues to change the way we live, work, and play. From homes to offices, factories to hospitals, connected objects enable us to experience our environments in cohesive, interactive ways. Yet, for too long, disconnected platforms and disparate development paths have caused confusion for consumers and complicated processes for developers and innovators. Smart objects should be reliable, secure, and work together – this is the shared vision behind Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), now known as the new standard, Matter.
Connectivity Standards Alliance Comes Together
Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, SmartThings, and the Connectivity Standards Alliance came together in 2019 to develop and promote this new standard, joined by fellow Alliance board member companies IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian.
Now, there are more than 180 member organizations of all sizes, across a range of business categories, and more than 1,700 member individuals participating in bringing the Matter specification, reference implementations, testing tools, and certification programs to life.
Explaining the Matter Protocol
Matter is the unified IP-based connectivity protocol built on proven technologies, helping connect and build reliable, secure IoT ecosystems. This new technology and royalty-free connectivity standard enables communications among a wide range of smart devices. Matter is also a seal of approval, assuring that any object built on this standard is reliable by nature, secure by design, and compatible at scale.
“We create marks of trust, and Matter is an important milestone for users in our long history of delivering unifying, secure, reliable and trustworthy standards for the IoT,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance. “I’m very excited to unveil Matter as a foundational element in delivering a truly connected world.”
Key Technology Attributes of Matter
Matter makes it easier for device manufacturers to build devices and to ensure that they are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit with Siri, Google’s Assistant, and SmartThings. The first specification release of the Matter protocol will run on existing networking technologies such as Ethernet (802.3), Wi-Fi (802.11), and Thread (802.15.4) and for ease of commissioning, Bluetooth Low Energy.
Consumers, Businesses, and Developers Working with Matter
Breakthrough connectivity is built on Matter, providing greater benefit and value for developers, and those who live or work in a smart home or business.
Consumers get increased choice, compatibility, and more control of their experience. Developers get lower development and operational cost via a single SKU and more time for innovation. Retailers get reduced complexity in-store to create a more simplified purchasing experience, leading to fewer returns for compatibility issues.
With Matter, consumers and businesses can choose the brands they want in their smart home or commercial building and be confident they will work seamlessly. Homeowners, and especially those living in a smart home with multiple devices like smart locks, thermostats or smart speakers, can easily add new devices with a Matter mark using a simple setup code to connect their home as one. Businesses, particularly those that rely on connectivity, can count on one network to keep their operations running smoothly.
Key for developers is that Matter isn’t only a specification; it also offers an open-source reference implementation in parallel. This drives tangible benefits for developers, including faster time to market, reduced reliance on single-vendor stacks, improved quality since they can access multiple use cases to test against, and increased security with full transparency into the community’s ability to identify and commit patches.
The New Symbol of Connectivity
Products with the Matter mark connect securely with more devices, more reliably than ever. The Matter mark will serve as a seal of approval, taking the guesswork out of the purchasing process and allowing businesses and consumers alike to choose from a wider array of brands to create secure and connected homes and buildings.
The new symbol and wordmark of Matter tell its story of connectivity. The name was selected for its foundational nature. Matter is a building block for life, and now also for the IoT. The three arrow forms meeting in the Matter symbol communicate the brand promise of convergence and connectivity in its most distilled visual form. Its geometric construction and triangular nature express security and utility. The badge on product and packaging, with the Matter symbol and wordmark, notes that a product is Matter certified. The two-color visual identity has been simplified to represent Day and Night with gradients evocative of dynamic connections between products. The new Matter brandmark was developed in partnership with Interbrand, one of the world’s leading brand consultancies.
Support from Member Companies
“Today, millions of customers around the world rely on Alexa as their favorite way to control more than 140,000 Alexa-compatible smart home products, and we are committed to continuing to make smart home connections easier for customers,” said David Shearer, vice president, Amazon Smart Home. “With Matter, smart home devices built on technologies like Wi-Fi will be more interoperable, making them simpler for manufacturers to develop and certify, and delivering more value for customers.”
Jim Kitchen, vice president product, connected home and IoT devices, Comcast, added, “As we focus on delivering the best connected experiences to our customers, Matter represents an important step forward in the global effort to make connected home technologies easier to use and more secure, with a high degree of interoperability. We’ve been honored to work with our industry peers on Matter from the beginning and are excited to be part of its role in shaping the future of IoT.”
Bruno Vulcano, R&D manager at Legrand and chair of the board at the Connectivity Standards Alliance believes that Matter will be a leap forward in interoperability and that it also demonstrates the power of the collaborative and open-source process within the Alliance that embraces the full IoT value chain and yields results. “We are convinced that Matter is a great opportunity, therefore Legrand supports the project since the beginning notably by involving engineers and by participating in test events,” he said.
Availability of Matter Products
In early May 2021, the feature-complete base specification was approved by the Matter Working Group. Reaching this milestone gives Members a definition of the major features to build out the open-source implementation and test the specification.
With this, the project is currently on track to see first devices through certification in late 2021, depending on manufacturer go-to-market plans. Devices targeted for launch include lighting and electrical (e.g., light bulbs, luminaires, controls, plugs, outlets), HVAC controls (e.g., thermostats, AC units), access controls (e.g., door locks, garage doors), safety and security (e.g., sensors, detectors, security systems), window coverings/shades, TVs, access points, bridges and others.
Members poised to be early adopters of Matter include: Amazon, ASSA ABLOY, Comcast, Espressif Systems, Eve Systems, Google, Grundfos Holding A/S, Huawei, Infineon Technologies, LEEDARSON, Legrand, Nanoleaf, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Qorvo, Resideo, Schlage, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Tuya Smart, ubisys, Wulian, and Zumtobel Group.
Companies interested in accessing the specification and building devices with Matter can join the Connectivity Standards Alliance.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance board of directors is comprised of executives from Amazon, Apple, ASSA ABLOY, Comcast, Google, Huawei, IKEA, The Kroger Co., LEEDARSON, Legrand, Lutron Electronics, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Tuya, and Wulian.