How to Get Started With Matter

You may have heard of Matter, the next-generation smart home protocol backed by some of the biggest names in tech. It’s designed to reduce the fragmentation of smart devices by ensuring that all compatible products can talk to one another, regardless of their original technology standards.

At its launch, Matter will support a small number of device categories (smart light bulbs and fixtures, smart plugs, smart locks, smart sensors, and connected displays) and a limited set of basic features for each. But the protocol is built to expand. The hope is that it will eventually offer the same functionality as more established technologies, such as Zigbee and Z-Wave. You won’t need to replace your existing devices, but you will have to switch to a new platform that supports them.

To use Matter, you’ll need a smart controller that can talk to your devices over Wi-Fi and Thread. This is the brains of your smart home, and it will control everything else. It will also manage communications and automations, but it won’t send your data to the cloud unless you opt-in to Matter’s remote access features.

What’s the best way to get started with Matter?
The big four smart voice assistants and hubs — Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings — all support Matter. But you don’t need to choose any of them, since a feature called Multi-Admin will let you control your Matter devices with more than one app. Plus, some smart speakers, routers, and digital displays can act as Matter controllers too.

During CES 2024, the likes of Philips Hue, Eve Systems, Nanoleaf, GE Lighting, and EVGA made announcements about upgrading their products to Matter compatibility. You’ll also see a few third-party brands, such as TP-Link, Ecovacs, and Aqara, adding support to their apps and devices.

The Z-Wave Alliance and chipmaker Silicon Labs are working on solutions to bridge older technologies into Matter, but they won’t make it into any existing hardware at this point. The hope is that they will be available as a software update, but it’s not clear when this will happen.

The biggest benefit of Matter is that it’s designed to work locally and not rely on the internet for communication. This means that it is much more secure than most existing protocols, and it is designed with privacy in mind. matter residences

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