Matter: New standard should solve the biggest smart home problem | Life & Knowledge

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Many people like the idea of ​​the smart home – a home in which, for example, the light is switched on by voice command or the radiators are automatically regulated. More than half (54%) of Germans would like to network and digitally control all technical devices in their own walls, according to a Bitkom study.

But anyone who takes a closer look at how the home could be equipped with smart devices will quickly be faced with the question of which system is the right one for it.

Because the manufacturers of smart home devices often rely on different technologies to network the individual components with one another. And accessories usually work with some of the most popular platforms such as Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant – but not with all of them.

Two new technologies should finally solve this problem. They are called Matter and Thread. For the first time, smart home devices from different manufacturers should be able to be networked and understand each other.

For years, major manufacturers such as Amazon, Google and Apple had pushed their own smart home systems. With the introduction of the new standards, the devices of the competitors could be combined in one household for the first time. And a connection to a distant cloud service is not necessary because all networked devices can communicate directly with each other.

Matter is basically a new language in which smart home devices from different manufacturers can communicate. While up until now you have to be careful whether new smart home devices really work together with a standard that already exists in the household, Matter-enabled devices should understand each other without any problems.

The Google Nest Hub will get an update to Matter and is prepared for thread technology

Photo: Google

You can then freely choose which language assistant you want to use, for example – as long as the device communicates in the background according to the new standard. You can tell whether this is the case by the Matter logo on the packaging. More than 200 companies are involved in the development of the standard.

The Matter-enabled devices send large amounts of data such as videos from surveillance cameras via WiFi or network cables. If it is only a matter of quickly sending short commands to the light switch or receiving a message from the motion detector, the second innovation in the smart home world comes into play: Thread.

Thread is a wireless network technology with which all devices in a smart home network with one another. In contrast to WLAN, which requires a router as the central transmitter and receiver of data, in the Thread network all devices with a power connection are simultaneously transmitters and receivers – for example switchable sockets, smart light switches or intelligent loudspeakers.

If you distribute these smart home devices throughout the apartment, the range of the network extends with them. If one of the devices fails, the remaining components in the network automatically redistribute their tasks. The user does not have to intervene.

New Smarthome Technology Thread - Infographic

Every Thread device with a plug that is added to the smart home expands the network and ensures greater reliability. Battery-operated devices in the Thread network such as thermostats, on the other hand, are only recipients of data, but do not forward any.

Which devices will work with Matter? Amazon has already announced that all Alexa speakers will receive the new standard through a software update – with the exception of the first generation Echo and Echo Dot (2016).

Google wants to update all devices in its Nest family with Matter. Some models such as Nest Wifi and Nest Hub will also be able to exchange data via thread in the future.

Apple’s HomePod Mini has already activated Thread, making it the first device that can control other accessories in a Thread network. Thread is activated automatically and connects to other thread-capable devices. In the future, the HomePod Mini will also work with the Matter standard.

Teaser picture

The HomePod Mini from Apple already masters thread, gets an update for the Matter standard

Photo: Apple

The first accessories that work with the Thread standard are available, for example, from the manufacturers Nanoleaf (various lights) and Eve Systems (including intelligent socket, thermostat, weather station). Eve Systems has also announced that its products will be updated to the new Matter standard via software updates. The first devices should be ready by the middle of next year.

However, an exact start date for Matter has not yet been announced.

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