Matter 1.0 is here. After months of hearing about how the software standard will bring huge benefits to our smart homes, users can finally start seeing it in action as they roll out new and old products.
More than 500 companies around the world have been working together under the Connectivity Standards Alliance to bring Matter to life. With the launch of Matter 1.0 and the launch of the Matter certification program, it should now be easier to find smart home technology that will benefit you every day, not give you a headache.
But what is matter and how will it work? We find the answer here.
What is matter?
The promise of smart home technology is that your gadgets can interact with each other to create a system that is better than the sum of its parts. An example of an ideal world is when you open the smart lock on your front door when you get home from a long day at work, your Amazon Echo Dot (2020) smart speaker can instantly play your favorite tunes, and your smart coffee maker does it for you Brew a relaxing drink.
Unfortunately, to achieve such a goal, you need to spend a lot of time researching whether the device is compatible with the gadgets you already have – if not, there may be no alternatives.
That’s where Matter comes in. Unlike many smaller micro-ecosystems, Matter-enabled devices are capable of interacting as part of a larger smart home setup. When purchasing a new Matter-compatible product, you don’t need to worry about whether it will interact with your existing Google Assitant, Amazon Alexa or Apple Homekit-powered setup, it should integrate seamlessly.
How will matter work?
Using Matter shouldn’t change the way you currently interact with your smart home setup. Once the update rolls out to your device and its smartphone app, you should be able to continue using everything as you do now, and you’ll have more options for gadgets to add to your home. The only caveat is that different brands don’t integrate their products with Matter in the same way.
Some, like Phillips Hue, will make almost all their existing devices (and new ones) compatible with Matter. Like Phillips, the company will do this through a software update — which, for Hue Bridge, will happen “in the first quarter of 2023,” or January, February, or March — which will bring the devices into compliance with the new standard.
There may be a few hiccups here and there – Philips has now had to drop the dials for the Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box and the Philips Hue Tap Dial Switch, and some settings may reset with changes – but for the most part, The transition to the substance will be quick and painless.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to fully adopt Matter for all existing smart home devices. For some brands – like Amazon and Google – very old models will be left behind.
If you have the latest smart devices, like the new Echo Dot (5th gen), Google Nets Hub Max, or Echo Show 10 (among others), those devices should get the Matter update. However, models from a few years ago won’t necessarily offer the same support. In these cases, you’ll either have to upgrade your smart speaker or give up the benefits of Matter.
Also, even some fairly new models won’t be updated to Matter, and support for the new standard is only available on newly released smart home devices from certain brands. This is the case with Nanoleaf’s smart lighting – only new Matter-compatible products in its Essentials lineup will adopt the Matter standard.
That said, your existing smart home setup should continue to work just fine even if your older device doesn’t get the update. So unless you already plan to upgrade it, you don’t need to replace everything right now.
Still, if you’re looking to buy some upgrades — say you want to take advantage of this year’s best Black Friday smart home tech deals — then you’ll want to make sure that what you’re buying actually supports Matter, otherwise, your new purchase could be fast will be out of date.