On the most recent IoT Podcast, David called in with a question about the new Matter standard. He has multiple connected devices in his smart home now and is wondering if they will work with Matter once device makers start bringing new Matter-compliant devices to market.
It’s a great question but unfortunately, Amazon, Apple, Google, and others haven’t yet provided all of their transition details. Obviously, new hardware bearing the Matter logo will of course work.
Old hardware though? We only have some limited information at this point.
Amazon hasn’t publicly said anything about Matter, even though it is a member of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly the Zigbee Alliance), which developed the new specification. Apple did mention Matter earlier this month at its WWDC 2021 event, The company will still offer a HomeKit certification path but suggests that non-HomeKit devices that are Matter compliant will work in the iOS Home app. So that’s a good sign.
Google didn’t say much about Matter at Google I/O last month although it did discuss Thread support, which is one of two protocols that Matter support. WiFi is the other one although Bluetooth can still be used for device provisioning.
So based on what we know and what we think we know about Matter, here’s our take.
There will likely be some current smart home devices that will work with Matter after an upgrade of some sort. And there will definitely be some smart home devices that simply won’t work with Matter. The safest bet for Matter upgrades is on devices that have only been around for one to two years.
Specifically, we think connected devices from large-name brands that already work with WiFi, or soon will work with Thread, are going to be Matter compliant. The newest products from Eve and Nanoleaf are good examples of this.
Some recent Zigbee devices may be software upgraded to use Thread, provided the device has the minimum internal hardware to support the update and the company wants to support the update. Non-hub devices that use Bluetooth and/or Zigbee are less likely to get upgraded to Matter, unfortunately. If those devices connect to a bridge, however, it’s possible the bridge can be updated for Matter compliance. Signify is updating its Philips Hue bridge so the Hue lights work with Matter. Signify doesn’t plan to update its Wiz brand of lights, though.
All in all, it’s still early to answer this question with certainty. However, it makes sense to share thoughts on the question, given what we currently know, in order to help you plan any new smart home device purchases. We suspect that by the time January’s Consumer Electronics Show rolls around, we’ll have many more details to share.
To hear David’s question in full, as well as our discussion of the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: