The Matter smart home standard is an initiative supported by major players in the smart home industry, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung. The Matter standard is developed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance, formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance.
Matter was launched in November 2022 and has seen a significant interest in the industry. Most smart home manufacturers are either selling Matter-enabled devices today, or are planning to do so in the near future.
Matter works with WiFi, Bluetooth, as well as the new Thread standard.
The goal of Matter is to create a unified standard for smart home devices, allowing them to work seamlessly with each other regardless of their brand or ecosystem. To achieve this, Matter defines different roles that devices can take on within a smart home system. In this blog post, we’ll explore these device roles, along with examples for each one.
Matter End Devices
End devices are devices that interact with users directly, such as smart speakers, lights, and thermostats. End devices in a Matter system communicate with each other directly, without needing a bridge. For example, a Matter-enabled smart thermostat communicate directly with Matter-enabled smart vents to optimize the airflow in a home. Matter-enabled light switches talk directly to Matter-enabled lamps.
Examples of end devices include the Amazon Echo, the Nest Learning Thermostat, and the LIFX Smart Bulb.
Matter Controllers serve as the central hub for a Matter smart home system, providing a unified interface for users to control and manage all the devices in the system. Matter Controllers can take on different forms, including smart speakers, smart displays, and dedicated hub devices.
Some examples of Matter Controllers include the Amazon Echo Show, the Google Nest Hub, and the Apple HomePod Mini. These devices offer a variety of features that make them useful as central hubs for a Matter smart home system. For example, the Amazon Echo Show features a large touchscreen display that can be used to control smart home devices, view security camera feeds, and access other Alexa features. The Google Nest Hub offers similar functionality, with a smaller display and a focus on Google Assistant voice control.
Dedicated Matter hub devices, such as the upcoming SmartThings Matter Hub from Samsung, offer more advanced features such as local processing and automation. These devices can be used to create complex rules and routines that automate different aspects of the smart home system.
Matter Accessory Devices
Accessory devices are devices that are designed to work with another device, such as a remote control for a smart TV or a motion sensor for a smart security system. Accessory devices in a Matter system communicate with the end devices directly, without needing a separate hub or bridge. For example, a Matter-enabled motion sensor communicate directly with a Matter-enabled security camera to trigger recording when motion is detected.
Examples of accessory devices include the Logitech Harmony Elite remote control and the Eve Motion sensor.
Matter Administrative Devices
Administrative devices, sometimes called Matter Admins, are devices that are used to manage and control the smart home system, such as a smartphone app or a web interface. Administrative devices in a Matter system are the central point that communicate with all the other devices in the system, allowing users to control and monitor their smart home from a single interface.
Examples of administrative devices include the Amazon Alexa app and the Google Home app.
Bridges are devices that connect different communication protocols and allow devices using those protocols to work together. For example, a Zigbee-to-Matter bridge can connect existing Zigbee devices to a Matter network, allowing them to be controlled via the same Matter apps as all other Matter devices. A Matter-enabled bridge translate the Matter commands to the appropriate protocol for the connected devices.
Examples of bridges include the Philips Hue Bridge and the Samsung SmartThings Hub.
The Matter smart home standard defines different device roles that devices can take on within a smart home system. End devices interact with users directly, Matter Controllers serve as the central hub for a Matter smart home system, accessory devices work with another device, administrative devices manage and control the smart home system, and bridges connect different communication protocols. With Matter, all these devices can work together seamlessly, regardless of their brand or ecosystem.
For more in-depth information, check out the Matter developer documentation and the blog posts provided by the Connectivity Standards Alliance, the governing group behind Matter. Stacey on IoT also has great coverage of Matter.