The buzz for IoT devices is not a new thing. They are well-known in the modern-day, and we all tend to use them at our home. Smart assistants like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Homekit connected to smart cameras, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc., are excellent examples of IoT-backed ecosystems.
Though these smart ecosystems provide utility and convenience, they also come with challenges. One of the key challenges of these ecosystems is interoperability. As each IoT ecosystem has its dedicated devices, it becomes tough for users to find the one that fits in their home ecosystem.
This is where the Matter protocol comes into the picture. The state-of-the-art standard released in 2022 has the solution to the described problem.
What is the Matter Protocol, and What are its Features?
Launched in November 2022, the Matter protocol is a revolutionary technology that breaks the borders between smart home ecosystems. The protocol sits on the application layer, allowing smart home accessories to work seamlessly across all the major smart home ecosystems.
For example, if you buy a smart bulb or camera for your home, you just need to check if it has the matter logo. If it does, you can buy it without worrying about the brand ecosystem that you have at your home.
Hence, with the devices backed by Matter protocol, you won’t have to make any changes to your smart home ecosystem. Here are some key characteristics of the Matter protocol!
- Matter leverages the power of Internet Protocol (IPv6) and User Datagram Protocol.
- The protocol was created by Project Connected Home Over IP. Currently, it is maintained by Connectivity Standards Alliance.
- The Connectivity Standards Alliance has over 170 companies working to make their devices Matter-friendly.
- Matter, as of today, is an open-source standard.
Top Features and Benefits of the Matter Protocol!
On top of these crucial aspects, there are numerous ingenious features and related benefits of Matter.
- Top-notch security
The Matter protocol takes a layered approach to ensure security. It employs a plethora of security methods, such as AES in CCM and CTR, to protect confidentiality and preserve identifiers, respectively. Further, the protocol also ensures data integrity through the SHA-256 cryptographic algorithm.
The under-the-hood security features of Matter are Zero Trust and Security by Design protocols. Integrating the Zero Trust protocol ensures that no one, whether inside or outside the organization, can access data unless they are authenticated. Furthermore, security by design focuses on making systems free from vulnerabilities and attacks through continuous testing and adherence to ideal programming methods.
- Offline IoT Computing
Matter has a powerful protocol supporting it at the device level. Thread is a wireless, low-powered mesh protocol that allows the connected devices to communicate with each other without the central hub.
The utility of this aspect is offline computing. With the ability to communicate with each other directly, devices do not need access to the internet. This feature of Matter makes it more secure, especially for devices like security cameras and smart locks.
The power efficiency of Matter is one of its key USPs, and the Thread protocol is the reason behind it. The thread devices are low-powered devices that consume minimum power while transmitting data. Moreover, the frequency of data is less. The time when no data is transmitted, they power down, saving a lot of energy.
- Privacy Features
Along with security, Matter also excels at protecting the privacy of data. Matter does not handle user information directly, but it only deals with information that goes to and from the network devices, albeit it takes care of that too.
To ensure that the data is shared between known Matter devices, all the devices are required to provide proof of identity. It can be an attestation keypair coupled with an X.509 certification provided by a trusted certificate authority.
The best thing is the sharing of as minimum data as possible that is required for proper operations. This greatly reduces the risk of data compromise and leakage.
How Does the Matter Protocol Work?
As stated above, Matter is an application layer standard that uses UDP and IPV6. Now, how does it work using them?
The Matter devices in a smart home ecosystem primarily run on two technologies, namely WiFi and Thread. WiFi connects the Matter devices with the cloud and local network that communicates over a high bandwidth. These devices can be the central hubs, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, etc.
On the other hand, Thread protocol is used to connect the low-bandwidth devices with the network. These devices include light bulbs, security cameras, smart locks, etc. The device that connects the mesh network of Thread devices to the main network is called the Thread Border Router. In a Thread mesh network, any device can be a Thread Border Router, as data between the devices is transmitted by hopping it through the node devices and then sending it to the central hub.
The best thing about the Matter Thread devices is the self-healing feature. If any device in the Thread network fails, it automatically heals itself by routing the data through any other device.
Will the Current IoT Devices Support Matter?
The manufacturers of smart home devices will need Matter certification to make their future devices compatible. However, the devices that are recently launched and work on WiFi or Thread would work after a software update.
The fairly old devices will also continue to work, but they may not receive a Matter update. Their satisfactory work will depend on the hubs through which they communicate. These hubs will be made Matter-compatible by the brands. A good example of this is Philips Hue Bridge!
What Manufacturers and Brands Support Matter?
The Connectivity Standards Alliance has over 170 manufacturers, and all of them support Matter. Other than Google, Apple, Amazon, Samsung, etc., there are numerous big names on the list, such as
Other than these manufacturers, four primary platforms support Matter. It implies that devices like smart speakers, hubs, and smart assistants can be controlled via Google Home, Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings.
When will the Matter devices be available?
As of now, numerous brands are working on hundreds of Matter devices. These devices include sensors, lighting, plugs, bridges, WiFi routers, and Matter controllers. Most of these devices will be available in the market by the first quarter of 2023.
The matter is an excellent protocol that makes sure that all the devices, irrespective of their brand, can be used with any IoT platform. The features are top-notch and are surefire to offer enhanced functionality in the future. As of now, the devices compatible with Matter are limited. But top brands like Comcast, Philips, Schneider Electric, etc. are working on devices that will be ideal for your home and compatible with Matter.
Building Matter-friendly apps and devices can be tricky, but it can be a walk in the park with the help of Intuz. The firm deals in developing ingenious IoT-based digital solutions that will skyrocket your growth.