Matter: the universal home automation protocol is advancing!

An interoperable and secure connectivity standard for the connected home!

Announced in December 2019, the project Connected Home over IP, better known by its acronym CHIP, is making great strides. But, forget the ZigBee Alliance, the consortium is now called the Connectivity Standards Alliance (THAT'S IT). Forget also CHIP, we will call it from now on Matter ! A new name that symbolizes how much it should count in the universe of the automation like no other before him ... Our dream of unifying home automation protocols is it about to see the light of day? Everything leads to believe so, and this is excellent news!

The genesis of the project

In recent years, the proliferation of connected objects has permanently changed the way we live and work. In our homes as in our offices, factories and hospitals, connected objects allow us to live with interactivity and comfort worthy of the science fiction of the past century. Unfortunately, the platforms are as numerous as they are disparate, too often confusing consumers who have the greatest difficulty in navigating them.

Between Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave and EnOcean, home automation remains far too obscure for those who discover the joys of it through a simple connected speaker equipped with a voice assistant. This is also why we created Les Alexiens and published many home automation tutorials : in order to help you see more clearly, quite simply!

To our great satisfaction, we announced, in 2019, that the heavyweights in the sector (Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, SmartThings and the Connectivity Standards Alliance) gathered around a table with the idea of ​​developing and promoting a new home automation standard around the ZigBee Alliance. Quickly joined by other member companies such as Schneider Electric, Signify, IKEA or the French Legrand and Somfy, the consortium Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) now has more than 180 members, of all sizes and commercial categories. There are even more than 1700 actors who participate in the implementation of the Matter specification, ranging from benchmark implementations to testing tools and certification programs.

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) consortium has more than 180 members […]

"We create brands you can trust and Matter is a milestone for users in our long history of providing unifying, secure, reliable and trustworthy standards for IoT.", said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the new Connectivity Standards Alliance. “I am very happy to unveil Matter as a fundamental part of creating a truly connected world. "

Okay, that's all well and good, but basically, what is Matter?

Matter: a home automation protocol?

Some would say that Matter is not a protocol. True or false ?

True if we stick to the old definition, a little obsolete, of the term of protocol in data processing. Matter is indeed not a new language allowing two different machines to communicate on the same abstraction layer.

False if we refer to the current definition of what is now a communication protocol, Namely "A specification of several rules for a particular type of communication" (cf. Wikipedia). The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) qualifies Matter as " unified IP connectivity protocol based on proven technologies " in his official announcement dated May 11, 2021. Well yes, we are talking about specifications and rules, no language ...

Both new technology and new connectivity standard, Matter is a new home automation communication protocol since devices using different ones (ZigBee or WiFi?) will now be able to communicate with each other! We could therefore say that it is a common protocol for different protocols.

In short, it is above all the response to a long-standing demand expressed by the vast majority of users: the interoperability of home automation systems.

What are the advantages of the Matter protocol?

Le Matter protocol on the one hand will help manufacturers of connected objects to create home automation devices much more easily but, above all, allow them to make sure that they are fully compatible with each other and with the main voice assistants market such as Siri and Apple HomeKit, Alexa and Amazon Echo, the Assistant of Google Home, or Bixby and SmartThings at Samsung.

The advantages of Matter:

  • Simplicity : easy to obtain and use, the goal being to simplify connected experiences.
  • interoperability : Devices from different brands will work together natively. A dream come true?
  • Reliability : connectivity will be local, consistent and responsive.
  • Safety : connections will be highly secure, both robust but also simplified for developers and users.
  • Flexibility : users will be able to easily configure and control their home automation devices on several ecosystems simultaneously.

In short, Matter is a standard allowing multiple protocols to be compatible and interoperable.

Matter is a unified IP connectivity protocol based on proven technologies and ensuring that any object built to this standard is reliable by nature, secure by design, and compatible at scale.

What are the compatible home automation protocols?

While it is perfectly correct to say that Matter is a protocol, it will call upon other "sub-protocols". The first version of Matter specification is in fact based on existing network technologies such as Ethernet (802.3), Wi-Fi (802.11) and Thread / ZigBee (802.15.4), But also Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The latter will in particular facilitate the commissioning of devices, as we have recently observed on certain connected objects such as robot vacuum cleaners. Roborock or the last bulbs Konyks Antalya Easy E27 (to name just these two products).

In short, forget the pairing problems like the well-known one of having to switch to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, the BLE will simplify the installation process and make the link with the protocol used by the device, it is one of the many advantages of Matter protocol...

Then, and this is especially where the novelty lies, Matter connected objects will be able to communicate with each other, whether they rely on ZigBee, Wi-Fi or Ethernet. As David Shearer, vice president, explains Amazon Smart Home, “With Matter, smart home devices based on technologies like Wi-Fi will be more interoperable, simplifying their development and certification for manufacturers, and delivering more value to customers. " When we know that more than 140 connected objects are compatible Alexa, we understand the need for such a technology so as not to lose the user.

And for Home Assistant, Jeedom or Domoticz users? The contribution will surely be less notable. Indeed, a home automation box role is in particular to manage the different protocols and make them possible to use them together. However, there is no doubt that this will simplify the integrations on Home Assistant OS and allow the use of fewer Jeedom plugins. There is no doubt that home automation gateways such as Raspbee II, Conbee and other Zigate will be compatible ...

Communication protocols

Is Matter available?

Yes, on paper, the full base specification of features has been approved by the working group in early May 2021.

No, we do not yet find Matter connected objects, but the CSA promises that lThe first devices will be certified at the end of 2021. Devices targeted for the launch include lighting and electricity (light bulbs, connected lamps and luminaires, controls, connected sockets), HVAC controls (connected thermostats, smart air conditioners, etc.), access controls (connected sensors and detectors, security systems, etc.), roller shutters and blinds, smart televisions, Wi-Fi access points and routers, ZigBee bridges and hubs and others.

The members about to offer their first products are: Amazon, ASSA ABLOY (Yale), Comcast, Espressif Systems, Eve Systems, Google, Grundfos Holding A / S, Huawei, Infineon Technologies, LEEDARSON, Legrand, Nanoleaf, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Qorvo, Resideo, Schlage, Schneider Electric, Signify , Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Tuya Smart, ubisys, Wulian and Zumtobel Group.

March 2020 uses the ZigBee home automation protocol!
Fascinated by Alexa since the day I received it in beta test, I gradually became passionate about the subject, before deciding to go further by creating a site with Jean-Christophe. An activity that allows me to quench my thirst for new technologies and share my discoveries about the nicest of communities: Les Alexiens.