I’ve made a couple of videos on smart tech and how confusing it may be to find products that integrate with your current smart home ecosystems like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s HomeKit. I even showed you a complicated workaround to make your smart devices HomeKit compatible. Well, there is a new standard on the horizon that may leave that problem in the past.
As a quick review, here’s my problem with the smart home industry. You see, each smart home ecosystem has its own certification process. An Alexa-supported device must follow Amazon’s guidelines, and Google Home devices must follow Google’s guidelines. However, both Google Home and Alexa seem easy to comply with since almost every smart device is compatible with those ecosystems. Lastly, HomeKit supported devices have to follow Apple’s much stricter guidelines. For each of these smart home ecosystems, you will need a team of developers and even pay royalty fees. That price adds up quickly. So, when picking up a smart device, you have to make sure it’s compatible with the ecosystem you use. But, all of this may be about to change.
At the end of 2021, products that support the Matter specification will start rolling out. When you find the Matter logo, an emblem of three arrows pointing in, you will instantly know that the device supports all the big-name smart home ecosystems, has a simple setup, and follows their privacy guidelines. Plus, it’s free for manufactures to implement into their products. The Matter coalition’s goal is to have its logo as ubiquitous as the WIFI logo is today. Look for the first Matter-supported devices scheduled to be released by the end of the year, with some current devices receiving updates to support the new standard. With this big update around the corner, I would not recommend diving into any smart home ecosystems or products right now. Instead, wait and see what comes to the market at the end of the year. That is if all of this goes according to the founder’s plans.
There is one hiccup that could cause problems. Matter is not here to replace the Alexa, HomeKit, or Google Home specifications. Each of those certification processes will continue as they do today. Matter is just another specification in addition to the rest. So, it will be up to the smart tech manufacturers to decide whether they want to support each ecosystem individually or adopt Matter and automatically support all of them.
But Matter appears to be on a great start. Both Google and Apple are adding Matter support to their smart home management apps by this fall, and Google will be updating their smart devices to support Matter.
With these big names taking action today, hopefully, Matter will become the industry standard. Then, the days of scanning the documentation trying to make sure a piece of smart tech supports your voice assistant is over. You can pick up any smart plug, light, lock, etc., and know it will work with your Alexa, Google Home, or iPhone.