Everything that matters about Matter—the new smart home standard and the best gadgets that work with it

There's something big on the horizon for smart home tech, and trust us when we say it matters. The new Matter protocol has the potential to revolutionize smart homes, making product integration easier than ever before.

Everything that matters about Matter—the new smart home standard and the best gadgets that work with it
Amazon is on board with the new Matter protocol

If you have a smart home, you understand how convenient and exciting it can be. There are countless ways in which you can customize and enjoy your gadgets. You can make your setup as simple or advanced as you wish to.

While smart devices aren’t the hardest thing in the world to set up, many brands and devices offer different experiences. Some connect rather easily, yet there are those that don’t play nicely with others.

Though we all work around these challenges and enjoy the experience overall, we know these devices can be better. That’s where the new Matter smart home standard comes in. Let’s check it out!

Everything that matters about Matter–the new smart home standard and the best gadgets that work with it
Google Nest Hub (2nd Generation)

What is Matter?

Matter is a new digital communication language for smart home devices. It seeks to address the elephant in the room of smart home platforms and components that don’t mesh smoothly.

For example, some products let you connect to the Google Home app, while others don’t. This causes you to use multiple apps for different brands. Alternatively, it might mean that products from two separate manufacturers conflict with each other and cause frustrating technical issues.

The prime objective for Matter is to bring harmony and unification to the smart home sector. It seeks to simplify user experiences and streamline operation in the easiest way possible. Who can argue with that?

How does it work?

One of the ways in which smart home devices operate is by sending and receiving signals to transmit data and communicate. They may use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, or Z-Wave. Unfortunately, none of these handle all necessary functions effectively.

Matter will offer an open-source connectivity standard with a wide range of compatibility. You’ll be able to buy any smart home gadget, power it up, and have it immediately integrate with the rest of your smart home. Then, you’ll be able to select which app you wish to use as a primary control hub, and which voice assistant it will use—regardless of the manufacturer or brand.

The technical aspect of how Matter can integrate so many different kinds of products can be a little harder to explain, but it comes down to this: Matter will tie in IP technologies—Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Thread—to communicate locally rather than through cloud services. This keeps device communication simpler, able to work offline, and likely even more secure. It’s more of an evolution than a replacement.

CNET on the Matter protocol

When is it coming?

Currently, there’s no definitive date on when we’ll see Matter-certified devices on the market, but right now it’s looking like the latter portion of 2022. Does this mean you should wait until then to buy smart home devices? Absolutely not.

In fact, much of what makes Matter possible is that it has the backing of many of the biggest tech giants out there. Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Nanoleaf, Wyze, Philips Hue, and iRobot, are just some of the companies on board with the project.

With that in mind, we’ll likely see these companies supporting a Matter integration for at least some of our existing products through firmware updates and as new devices release.

Which gadgets should you get?

Any of the companies that have aligned themselves with Matter are a safe bet as far as brands go. With Amazon, Google, and Apple all attached, that’s a large portion of the smart home sector right there. Products from these brands will presumably be supported when Matter launches, but we can’t say for sure.

What we can say is that the version of Matter to be released, version 1.0, will bring its service to lights, plugs, outlets, door locks, thermostats or HVAC controllers, blinds, home security sensors, garage doors, televisions, and wireless access points. Smart appliances and robot vacuums will likely be supported in version 1.1, which is already in development.

So, if you’re looking for which devices to buy ahead of time, we recommend one of the aligned brands and one of these product types.

Everything that matters about Matter–the new smart home standard and the best gadgets that work with it
Nanoleaf Elements wall lighting

These things do matter

We all know how quickly the tech world changes. It can be a source of excitement or frustration. While it would be fair to expect Matter to encounter some complications at launch, it’s something to celebrate if they pull it off.

Their efforts and that of the tech companies working alongside them have the potential to revolutionize the smart home industry for the better. We can’t wait to see what this time in 2023 will look like.

Are you happy to see Matter making headway? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark is a writer and podcaster who loves technology. When not writing for Gadget Flow, he enjoys passionately working on storytelling projects and exploring the outdoors.
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