How the Matter Protocol Can Make Your Smart Home More Seamless

More devices talking to each other is a good thing

Key Takeaways

  • The Matter protocol is the new name of the interoperable, secure connectivity standard for smart home devices. 
  • Key tech companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google are members of the Connectivity Standards Alliance to ensure smart home products have greater compatibility with one another. 
  • Experts say that the Matter protocol will be a game-changer for consumers, who will have more choices and more control over their devices.
Smartphone controlling a smart home

Getty Images

Your smart home devices are about to get a lot more compatible, thanks to the newly announced Matter protocol. 

The Matter protocol (formerly known as Project CHIP) is a smart home protocol developed by companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Comcast to create an industry standard for all smart home devices, making them more compatible with each other. Experts say that this type of certification system is exactly what the smart home industry needs: compatibility across devices from different makers.

“With the tech giants fully backing the royalty-free Matter protocol, this may be the start of a dominant standard that can help deliver smart home device interoperability,” Daniel Walsh, the owner of the website Smart Home Perfected, wrote to Lifewire in an email. 

What is The Matter Protocol? 

According to the announcement, Matter is the unified IP-based connectivity protocol created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance) to provide secure Internet-of-Things ecosystems. The technology allows users to control lighting, heating and air conditioning, video doorbells, door locks, and alarms through their smart speakers.

New smart home devices certified under the Matter protocol will be able to work seamlessly between your Amazon Echo and your Google Nest Hub. A unique Matter logo on a device will establish that it’s been certified. 

Amazon's Echo device on a table

Getty Images

The first devices to receive certification will come as soon as this year, depending on manufacturers’ market plans. These devices will include light bulbs, thermostats, door locks, and security systems, with more to follow. 

Walsh said it’s especially important to note that the Connectivity Standards Alliance is open-sourcing the information, so that other tech companies can use and benefit from the technology. 

“With an open-source reference implementation, these companies will be contributing back to the protocol with patches and improvements,” he said. 

How It Affects Smart Home Devices 

So what exactly does all this mean for the consumer? In short, you won’t have to deal with the headache of trying to figure out if the new smart speaker you want, for example, is compatible with your existing smart appliances. 

Walsh said that not having to worry about mixing and matching Alexa-compatible devices with those of Apple Homekit or Google Home will be a significant improvement on the current fragmented device landscape.

“For those purchasing a device based on the Matter protocol, they can expect a simplified configuration process and seamless integration with other devices,” he said. 

"If the Matter protocol achieves its full potential, it will completely transform the smart home landscape for the better."

And Chris Papenfus, the founder of MissionSmartHome.com, said you also will be able to keep your current smart home products. 

“This new alliance won't affect your current smart products other than software updates that will allow for better integration with other smart devices,” he told us. “These improvements won't happen overnight, but it won't be long until the vast majority of smart products are compatible regardless of brand.”

However, establishing an industry standard across all smart home devices can limit Wi-Fi as a communication medium, which could give consumers some problems. 

“Because there is no standard way for an automation platform and those devices to understand each other, we end up relying on cloud-based control interfaces to bridge the gap,” David Mead, the founder of LinkdHOME.com, told Lifewire via email. “That's bad for consumers because it leaves them exposed to unknown software implementations, unknown server security, internet outages, and delays.”

Even though these types of vulnerabilities exist in smart home products, not to worry: there are things you can do to better secure your devices, such as using strong and unique passwords, checking the privacy and security settings of your devices, enabling two-factor authentication, and keeping your software up to date.

The Connectivity Standards Alliance said that once most smart home devices are certified under the Matter protocol, consumers will see an increase in choice, better compatibility, and more overall control over their smart home experience. 

“If the Matter protocol achieves its full potential, it will completely transform the smart home landscape for the better,” Papenfus said. 

Was this page helpful?