CES: Support for Matter Helps Drive Smart Home Momentum

Matter was a big player at CES 2022. Built around the premise that smart homes need a single, unifying interface standard that makes devices “secure, reliable and seamless to use,” the Matter alliance now has more than 220 member companies, including Apple, Comcast, LG and Samsung. Amazon announced developers can add Frustration-Free Setup on Matter-certified devices using the Matter SDK, and Google declared its Fast Pair simple setup is supporting Matter. As companies build new smart products, Matter believes that users should merely plug them in to make them operational on the home network.

The concept was introduced at CES 2020, where major tech companies threw their support behind the Project Connected Home over IP connectivity initiative, known as CHIP, which vowed to develop an open-source standard that would make all connected smart devices work together simply,  securely, regardless of manufacturer.

“The buzz was: ‘That’s never gonna happen,’” The Verge reports, fast-forwarding to CES 2022 where “Matter — as CHIP is now called — was the darling of the show, with a full dance card and a line of admirers that stretched to the virtual Starbucks.”

What changed? “The wave of Matter news at CES from our CSA members is a testament to the hard work that has gone into the development and testing of Matter in 2021.  Hundreds of companies and thousands of engineers are at the heart of this global solution, creating a more open and innovative IoT,” Tobin Richardson, president of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly Zigbee Alliance), which oversees Matter, told The Verge at CES.

In addition to interoperability goals and ease of setup, Matter’s security objectives can’t be overestimated, Digital Trends reports. “Data privacy is more important than ever before. As we invite more and more technology into our homes that can listen and track us, we need the assurance that any information gathered will be kept secure. Matter utilizes a number of security measures including blockchain ledgers and zero trust to ensure a streamlined connection between devices. Advanced security and encryption protocols will help safeguard user data and prevent unauthorized access.”

“While today you can control, say, a Philips Hue lightbulb with multiple apps and voice assistants, you currently have to set it up with each one individually. With Matter, it’ll be one and done,” The Verge writes, adding that local connectivity to the device, which makes for faster responsiveness and offline access when the Internet is down is “a nice bonus.”

In all, there were about 30 companies touting affiliation with Matter at CES 2022, The Verge says, indicating some — like Tuya Smart, “an IoT development platform service provider based in China that supports over 446,000 developers with over 1,100 smart home products” — represent “a broader slice of the industry.” Several debuted new products with Thread, which Digital Trends describes (in this Matter explainer) as “a networking technology upon which much of the Matter application layer is built.”

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