February 24, 2022
The global smart home device market is pegged at $41.2 billion in 2022, and is expected to hit $73.1 billion by 2026, according to Global Industry Analysts. That’s one reason companies like Apple, Google, Samsung and Amazon have established smart home platforms that enable mobile phones or Alexa to change thermostat settings or turn on the lights using apps that don’t require much fuss. But when it comes to interoperating among various devices and appliances, that’s where an industry standard comes in handy, and Matter, which debuts this year, expects to fill that niche.
Some feel compatibility problems and complex setups have been a drag on consumer adoption for smart home technology, and that Matter’s attempt to provide a common language and pairing for most new, and even some old, smart products could jump-start the market.
“You could buy any gadget you wanted and connect it to whichever app you prefer,” is how The Wall Street Journal envisions it. “You’ll be able to control it with the voice assistant of your choice, or even use multiple assistants and apps inside your home. Even though Matter would work behind the scenes, it could mean more affordable devices that are easier to set up and even play nicely together.”
Matter is being marketed as the first universal casting standard to reliably work with Apple, Samsung and Google protocols, among others. “All the biggest names in smart home tech are on board, so going forward, you won’t be trapped in one walled garden. If you get tired of Alexa and want to switch to Apple’s HomePod mini, you could do it,” WSJ writes.
In addition to the tech market leaders, about 220 other companies have conformed to Matter, which means that by 2030, more than 5.5 billion Matter-compatible smart home devices will ship, says ABI Research.
Matter is “a unified protocol that will help to bring all of our smart home devices together under one roof, so to speak. A world where our devices can communicate and co-exist using local Wi-Fi rather than from the cloud — a proper way for them to operate offline and in the home,” writes Android Police. The fact that Matter will be able to perform many basic functions without connecting to the cloud is one reason WSJ says it’s “more secure and private than other smart home systems.”
And at least some limited backward-compatibility means “you probably won’t have to throw out all your old smart devices,” according to WSJ, which notes that “advanced features will still be linked to companies — like how AirPods work better with Apple devices.”
Currently, the U.S. leads the global market for smart home appliances, accounting for 23 percent, or $9.7 billion in sales, according to Global Industry Analysts, which says that in terms of growth, the Asia Pacific region holds the most promise, due to increasing accessibility to the Internet and other technological developments.