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A month after the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) finalized Matter version 1.0, the body behind the new smart home connectivity standard held a big event to celebrate the launch of the first products to launch or get updates with the new protocol. During the Amsterdam event, the CSA also shone a light on how your smart home will work in the future and what upcoming Matter features you can expect to come later down the road.

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On stage, CSA president Tobin Richardson explained that since the launch of Matter 1.0 about a month ago, 20 new companies have joined the CSA., with the number growing by the day. The alliance also boasts that in this timeframe, there are now 190 certifications in progress or finished for new products. The interest among developers is also high. The Matter specs were downloaded over 4,000 times, and the SDK over 2,500 times.

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CSA president Tobin Richardson on stage

During the event, the CSA announced that it will strive for a bi-annual release cadence, bringing support for new devices, functional updates, and continuous improvements in a reliable schedule, with work on cameras, appliances, and energy management first in line. In the near term, the CSA wants to focus on stability and creating a great experience, though, to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Matter will also get a Product Security Working Group. The CSA is recognizing that it's important to progress Matter in the security department, and the alliance wants to work on offering inherent security within its protocol.

It’s been a long way to get to this point for the CSA. Matter was first conceptualized as Project CHIP in 2019. Involved companies realized that they hit roadblocks with their disparate systems and hope that Matter will solve the issue for them. Even then, Matter was hit by delay after delay. The body behind it was forced to move the launch from 2021 to 2022, all to ensure that everything was working smoothly for every product involved and that it was all built on a solid foundation.

You can look at it from another perspective, though. Matter managed to bring together hundreds of companies to work together on this universal standard, and if you think about the number of stakeholders involved, taking three years from idea to execution is impressive—despite the delays.

Matter is supposed to finally convince those who are still skeptical about the smart home. It’s meant to solve the issue that you have to bet on only one provider to get your smart home started, only to then have this provider potentially discontinue support or run into other compatibility problems. Matter will make it possible to freely control devices with whichever platform you prefer. The CSA hammered down on this aspect during its presentation, making clear that you will be able to buy any Matter-certified device and set it up within seconds, and never have to worry about compatibility. The alliance also highlighted that you can control your smart home with any controller app you like—whether that's Google Home, Apple Home, Samsung SmartThings, or via voice on Amazon Alexa.

Matter wants to achieve that with its open nature. The alliance is building its system on top of Wi-Fi, not requiring any specialized hardware as Zigbee would. It also relies on an optional IP-based “Thread” mesh networking standard and Bluetooth Low Energy, though the latter is only meant as an easy option to set up devices. The whole standard is open-source and , too.

Matter has more advantages than just this interoperability and open connectivity. While Matter uses local networks like Wi-Fi and Thread, it works completely offline. This means that even if your ISP has issues, you can still control your smart home. The standard is also open source and royalty-free, making it easy for companies to join in on the system and get their products up to speed.

Despite the big launch, Matter is still in its early stages and only works with a limited set of devices for now. You can use Matter controllers and apps to control your smart lights, plugs and outlets, HVAC controls, shades and other window coverings, safety and security sensors, door locks, and media devices including TVs. The alliance is working on expanding both the feature set introduced with Matter 1.0 for the mentioned devices and the supported device types.

During the event, a number of companies announced new products with Matter support or vowed to update their existing devices and smart home hubs to work with the new protocol. Here is a selection:

  • Amazon announced that it will support Matter over Wi-Fi this year and bring the standard to 17 Echo devices as well as its plugs, switches, and bulbs. For next year, the company plans to bring Matter over Thread and add the standard to more Echo devices and other device types.
  • Aqara, a company mostly known for its Zigbee smart home hubs, will offer Matter support on its existing product in December and launch brand-new Thread-enabled devices in 2023.
  • Smart home and lighting company Brillant announced that it’s joining the CSA and that it will bring Matter support to its products in 2023. The company additionally wants to work on improving Matter’s capabilities for both homeowners and apartment dwellers.
  • Nanoleaf used the event to show off four new Matter-compatible smart bulbs and light strips as part of its Essential lineup. They will launch globally in early 2023, with prices ranging from $20 to $100.
  • Philips' Hue Bridge is one of the first devices to be . A software update will automatically make the bridge and all smart home products connected to it Matter enabled.
  • Energy management company Schneider Electric announced that it will make its future devices Matter-certified. The company additionally showed a new Wiser gateway that bridges the gap between Matter and older standards, making it possible to add Zigbee and other devices as a part of your Matter home.
  • Internet of Things chipmaker Silicon Labs announced a new chip, the SiWx917 low-energy Wi-Fi 6 SoC, coming in 2023. It also highlighted its MG24, an SoC that combines support for Matter, Zigbee, Thread, and Bluetooth all in one package.
  • Tuya announced that it has three Matter certificates finished. It also made its own app ready for Matter, allowing you to control other Matter devices with its app.
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Amazon's roadmap

Matter could very well be the beginning of the commodification of the smart home, something that will make it much easier to use the service for everyone. Like with regular appliances, you might no longer have to double and triple-check if the device you want to buy will work with your home. Like standardized electrical plugs, you know that it will just work with any Matter-enabled controller well enough and that you won’t need to be connected to the internet at all times.

The CSA’s members stretch across the entire industry, with over 280 companies already on board. Before being rolled into the body behind Matter, the CSA was known as the Zigbee alliance. Zigbee is a broadly used standard for smart home, and like Threads, it’s a mesh network that can exist besides Wi-Fi in your home. However, Matter aims to fix some of the headaches this system brought with it, including the requirement to have a dedicated smart home hub to communicate with Zigbee devices.