Here’s What the ‘Matter’ Smart Home Standard Is All About

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The ideal smart home seamlessly anticipates your needs and instantly responds to commands. You shouldn’t have to open a specific app for each appliance or remember the precise voice command and voice assistant combination that starts the latest episode of your favorite podcast on the nearest speaker. Competing smart home standards make operating your devices needlessly complicated. It’s just not very … well, smart.

Tech giants try to straddle standards by offering their voice assistants as a controlling layer on top, but Alexa can’t talk to Google Assistant or Siri or control Google or Apple devices, and vice versa. (And so far, no single ecosystem has created all the best devices.) But these interoperability woes may soon be remedied. Formerly called Project CHIP (Connected Home over IP), the open-source interoperability standard known as Matter arrived in 2022. With some of the biggest tech names, like Amazon, Apple, and Google, on board, seamless integration may finally be within reach.

What Is Matter?

Matter enables different devices and ecosystems to play nicely. Device manufacturers must comply with the Matter standard to ensure their devices are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. For folks building a smart home, Matter theoretically lets you buy any device and use the voice assistant or platform you prefer to control it (yes, you can use different voice assistants to talk to the same product).

For example, you can buy a Matter-supported smart bulb and set it up with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa—without having to worry about compatibility. Right now, some devices already support multiple platforms (like Alexa or Google Assistant), but Matter will expand that platform support and make setting up your new devices faster and easier.

Matter-supported devices

What Makes Matter Different?

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly the Zigbee Alliance) maintains the Matter standard. What sets it apart is the breadth of its membership (more than 550 tech companies), the willingness to adopt and merge disparate technologies, and the fact that it is an open-source project. Interested companies can use the software development kit (SDK) royalty-free to incorporate their devices into the Matter ecosystem. This is much simpler than certifying devices individually with each smart home platform.

Growing out of the Zigbee Alliance gives Matter a firm foundation. Bringing the main smart home platforms (Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings) to the same table is an achievement. It is optimistic to imagine a seamless adoption of Matter across the board, but it has enjoyed a rush of enthusiasm with many smart home brands jumping aboard, including August, Schlage, and Yale in smart locks; Belkin, Cync, GE Lighting, Sengled, Signify (Philips Hue), and Nanoleaf in smart lighting; and others like Arlo, Comcast, Eve, TP-Link, and LG.

When Will Matter Arrive?

Matter has been in the works for years. The first release was due in late 2020, but it was delayed to the following year, rebranded as Matter, and then touted for a summer release. After another delay, the Matter 1.0 specification and certification program opened in 2022. The SDK, tools, and test cases were made available, and eight authorized test labs opened for product certification.

The first wave of Matter-supported smart home gadgets went on sale in the fall of 2022, and we have seen a steady trickle since then. The first update to the specification, Matter 1.1, arrived in May 2023 and consisted largely of bug fixes. Announced in October 2023, Matter 1.2 added support for nine new device types, including refrigerators, robot vacuums, and air purifiers, alongside improvements to existing categories.


What About Other Smart Home Standards?

The road to smart home nirvana is paved with different standards, like Zigbee, Z-Wave, Samsung SmartThings, Wi-Fi HaLow, and Insteon, to name a few. These protocols and others will continue to exist and operate. Google has merged its Thread and Weave technologies into Matter. The standard also employs Wi-Fi and Ethernet standards and uses Bluetooth LE for device setup.

What Devices Does Matter Work With?

Matter is compatible with various devices, including light bulbs, switches, smart plugs, smart locks, safety and security sensors, media devices like TVs, smart blinds and shades, garage door controllers, thermostats, and HVAC controllers. The Matter ecosystem continues to expand, with more devices becoming available over time.

How Do Smart Home Hubs Fit In?

Matter does not require a central hub for operation. Instead, it allows devices to connect directly to your local network. This enables your smart home devices to be more responsive and to continue functioning even when your internet is down.

What Do I Need to Use Matter?

To use Matter, you need compatible devices that adhere to the Matter standard. These devices should work seamlessly with popular voice assistants and platforms such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. Look for the Matter logo to ensure compatibility.

What About Security and Privacy?

The Connectivity Standards Alliance places a strong emphasis on security and privacy. Matter devices must meet rigorous security requirements and conform to industry best practices to ensure the protection of user data and privacy.

Will Manufacturers and Platforms Limit Functionality?

While Matter aims to provide seamless interoperability, manufacturers and platforms may still have their specific features and limitations. It’s important to research and understand the capabilities of individual devices and platforms before making a purchase.

Will Matter Succeed?

Matter has gained significant support from major tech companies and smart home brands. With its open-source nature and commitment to interoperability, Matter has the potential to become a widely adopted standard in the smart home industry. However, its success will ultimately depend on continued collaboration among manufacturers, platforms, and consumers.


Matter represents a promising step towards simplifying the smart home experience. By enabling interoperability between devices and platforms, Matter empowers consumers to build their ideal smart homes without being limited by compatibility issues. As the Matter ecosystem continues to expand and more devices become available, the vision of a truly seamless and integrated smart home becomes closer to reality.

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