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The new standard will enable easy, secure communication between mate smart home brands and devices – and existing devices can be updated to support it.
Although we are still in the early era of modern “smart home” accessories and integrations, the first adopters of such technologies have long known that one company’s equipment may or may not work with another company’s equipment. .
A newly-certified and industry-backed standard, called MATTER, promises to eliminate incompatibility and make almost everything for the home “smart” capable of working with each other. has the potential to open up the wider – and of tomorrow – home gadgets.
case reached support Mac as part of MacOS Venturaand here it is iOS And iPadOS With version 16.1, including tvOS (which also includes homepodThis comes on the heels of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) certifying the official 1.0 release of Matter in early October.
A key part of this is that more than 200 manufacturers of smart home accessories have signed on to support it.
By allowing different brands to operate under a common control standard, Matter will provide huge benefits to both buyers and sellers of smart home devices.
For the former group, it will take a lot of the “Wild West” aspect out of product purchases, with consumers no longer worrying whether their new device can work with their existing setup or preferred voice assistants.
For manufacturers, there will be a single supported standard that reduces buyer confusion, and makes products from both new startups and established brands alike, worthy of consideration.
Previously, if you wanted different companies’ home automation devices to be controlled by an industry-wide protocol, you’d have to jump into a time machine and go back to the late 1970s. When the original “home automation” protocol — X10 Network – Allowed for “Command Center” to control the triggering of lamps and other light switches.
This allowed control either through the console or manually by setting a timer attached to the outlet for triggering of on/off states. The system “transmits” via radio signal passes through the home’s electrical wiring using powerline technology – the same system used in non-mesh Wi-Fi extenders today.
Thus, the early decades of home automation relied heavily on gadget enthusiasts willing to take risks at future obsolescence in order to control the devices. are x10-controlled products still available Though has now largely moved to niche and equipment-replacement markets.
With the rise of the Internet and later the emergence of Wi-Fi technology to spread connectivity around the home, established companies such as Google moved quickly to create or acquire technology that transferred their influence to those devices. which were not “smart” in the first modern. sense of the word. It expanded from security-focused products to televisions, temperature controls, and more.
However, the move from “computer desks” to spaces like basements and living rooms was not without hiccups.
In 2014, Google’s Nest division bought a well-known smart-device company revolve And then — exactly two years later — shut down Revolve’s serversDue to which those products stopped working and angered the buyers.
Earlier this year, popular maker Insteon and its parent company SmartLabs parted ways over supply and liquidity problems and abruptly stop, This cuts down on communication with the central SmartLabs server of dependent devices for communication – and it supports LIFX and . joined companies like smartdry In enticing the consumers who invest in those products.
This has prompted consumers to hedge their bets on buying smart-home devices that are made by or backed by large tech companies, which are less likely to go out of business or relinquish their commitments to buyers. Is. This includes Google (despite the Revolv incident), Amazon, Samsung and Apple, among others.
This has caused various companies to start talking to each other about how they make their equipment and services more resistant to market misfortunes or changes in technology. In turn, this makes the devices more consumer-friendly.
Modern smart home gadgets now use devices that can function as, or double, as centers To facilitate inter-device communication. However, hubs still rely on a connection to the manufacturer’s servers for things like firmware and feature updates.
If you have a HomePod or an . Is Apple TV 4KThey act as hubs for many other devices – but those devices, regardless of brand, will all currently have to support Apple homekit Framework if you want them all to be controlled by Apple’s Home app.
CSA, IP and Apple Connection
The new MATTER standard will be a comprehensive command and control system that will give consumers the freedom to mix-and-match smart home devices without worrying about interoperability. And if desired, with the goal of controlling all devices through a single app.
Former Zigbee Alliance, now called Connectivity Standards CoalitionIt gathered equipment manufacturers, technology companies, and other industry leaders alike to reach agreement on how devices can stay connected, speak the same “language” to each other, and communicate securely.
Matter’s core is built on Internet Protocol, the same networking technology that servers, routers and websites use to work.
Apple, one of the original group of companies collaborating on Matter, contributed the HomeKit API as the foundation for the open-source standard. Further security of inter-device communication – first Not considered by most manufacturers – As important as broad industry adoption is to ensure strong trust among consumers.
Thread binds the device to the miter
Thread, an IPv6-based, low-power mesh networking technology already available on the market, adds to the matter by adding standards for supported device-hub communication in two key ways:
- Bluetooth Low Energy (mainly for battery-powered and/or nearby devices), and
- A private, secure Wi-Fi mesh network created by the Hub for communication and coordination throughout the home.
Apple and other manufacturers are already shipping devices with support for Thread, such as the latest Apple TV 4K models and all current HomePods.
Thread serves as a common “language” between devices from different companies, and like Mater, can now be supported or added to many current or recent devices via firmware upgrades.
Recent products that currently support Apple’s HomeKit are more likely to be upgraded to support Thread and Matter, as HomeKit technology was included in these standards. But the big companies haven’t yet clearly confirmed which devices can or can’t be updated.
While Thread will serve as a common networking tool between existing toolkits from different companies, Matter will bring secure, universal communication and coordination to all smart home hub devices that support it, or may be upgraded to support it. could. Consumers will eventually be able to choose devices based on what they can do to further automate their household tasks, rather than being limited or constrained by specific brands and technologies.
This should result in smart-home technology “going mainstream” with the masses, boosting sales and encouraging additional innovation among established providers and startups.
For Apple users and smart-home enthusiasts, the road ahead looks much easier now.