All about the global smart home standard


[MATTER] The first products compatible with the Matter standard were announced at CES 2022. They will be able to interchange with each other, regardless of their brand.

What is the matter?

Matter is a standard that aims to simplify the installation and configuration of connected objects in home automation and to ensure compatibility between them, as well as with the services of voice assistants. The products have a common communication language with Matter. The standard was launched at the end of 2019 as Connected Home over IP (CHIP) by Amazon, Apple and Google in partnership with the Zigbee Alliance (now Connectivity Standards Alliance, CSA).

What protocols does the substance work on?

The material is based on Internet Protocol (IP) to ensure a layer of interoperability and will operate on the 2.4GHz frequency band. It will only work in IPv6. So objects connected to IPv4 addresses will not be compatible. The devices will use Bluetooth Low Energy to operate in the Matter network. Then, they will communicate via Wifi or Ethernet for high bandwidth applications and via Thread for low bandwidth applications. The standard will also use blockchain to authenticate device origin and hardware security. Security must be integrated by design. The material will contain 128-bit AES encryption of data between devices and between devices and the cloud. Cloud-to-cloud communication between objects will still be possible without the use of the standard.

What IoT products are of interest?

To work, the material needs physical and transport layers (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, thread, see above) capable of carrying IP. The first product specifications for the devices were approved in May 2021 and submitted to members for testing on a variety of products, from smart bulbs to blinds, ventilation and security systems or connected locks. The SDK will be available in the second quarter of 2022.

Who is involved in launching Matter?

Matter was launched by Amazon, Apple and Google, in partnership with the CSA, formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance. The latter includes nearly 220 smart home companies working together to improve the interoperability of home automation platforms. Association members wishing to participate in the formulation of specifications can participate in working groups. Thus, in the working groups we can find members of Ikea, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, NodOn, Wulian …

issue on github

Matter is an open source standard, and any IoT company can freely implement it. The standard and the development and maintenance of supporting tools are implemented via the open source Github platform. Since March 2020, contributions have enabled responses to 182 of the 291 topics discussed, according to figures reported in April 2021 by Kevin Boe, Google’s senior product manager, part of project management.

Matter in Netatmo

Netatmo introduced its first Matter product at CES 2022: a smart security sensor. Equipped with
Contact sensor and infrared motion detector, this connected object is intended to alert the user when a door or window is opened. With Matter, it can interact with many other connected products, regardless of their brand, and, for example, turn on heating or lights if a presence is detected.

This issue in Infineon

Infineon Technologies, a German semiconductor manufacturer, joined the CHIP project in 2020 (which has since become significant) and has been actively involved in security working groups. Its teams specifically worked on cryptographic fundamentals for device encryption, authentication, and integrity as well as security certification requirements for smart home devices. Infineon Technologies also launched in October 2020 a benchmarking kit for the Raspberry Pi.

What is the impact for consumers?

With this project, Apple, Amazon and Google intend to improve the user experience of their customers by allowing connected objects in their ecosystem, hitherto incompatible with each other, to communicate with each other. Consumers will no longer need to wonder if their thermostat will work with light switches or if their phone will talk to their door locks.

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