In a move to unify smart home devices, Apple, Google and Amazon have teamed up with other tech companies to make the home networks more universal and user-friendly. The tech majors have collaborated to sponsor Matter -- an alliance that certifies smart home devices by placing its logo on them as an indication, CNET reported. The Matter logo will look like three round-tipped arrows all pointing towards the center. Any smart home device such as Amazon Alexa-responding smart light bulb or Google Home-monitored video doorbell with the logo means they are Matter-certified. Through certifying smart home devices, the alliance aims to make the technology widely accepted because it is easier to develop.
The ideal smart home seamlessly anticipates your needs and instantly responds to commands. You shouldn't have to open a specific app for each appliance or remember the precise voice command and voice assistant combination that starts the latest episode of your favorite podcast on the nearest speaker. Competing smart home standards make operating your devices needlessly complicated. Tech giants try to straddle standards by offering their voice assistants as a controlling layer on top, but Alexa can't talk to Google Assistant or Siri or control Google or Apple devices, and vice versa. And so far, no single ecosystem has created all the best devices.
Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP) is now known as Matter. The Connectivity Standards Alliance, an organization made up of more than a hundred device manufacturers, including giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Samsung, announced the rebranding on Tuesday. Those companies came together to work on CHIP in 2019 with the hopes of building out an open smart home standard that connects all their disparate devices together. At its most simplest, the promise of Matter is that you'll be able to buy a device and use it with the voice assistant of your choice and easily connect it to your existing home network. At launch, Matter will support Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, as well as Ethernet, WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE. "The Matter mark will serve as a seal of approval, taking the guesswork out of the purchasing process and allowing businesses and consumers alike to choose from a wider array of brands to create secure and connected homes and buildings," the CSA says of the rebranding.
Want a speaker for your office that pumps out premium sound and offers Bluetooth streaming or voice control? Here are your best options from all the big players, including Sonos, Bose, Google, Apple, and Amazon. Anyone who has invested in a smart home platform knows the frustration that comes with trying to figure out which devices work with which platforms. The problem is compounded when you try to switch from a service like Samsung's SmartThings to Apple HomeKit. It's been a problem for years, with multiple companies trying to solve the issue by releasing hubs or services that would bring together devices that normally wouldn't work.
At I/O 2021, Google reiterated its commitment to Matter with a handful of smart home-related Nest and Android updates. If you need a refresher, Matter was known as Project CHIP, or Connected Home over IP, before a rebranding this past May. It's a pact between some of the biggest companies in tech, including Google, Amazon and Apple, that aims to bring standardization to the fragmented smart home space. When it launches in the first half of 2022, it will support a variety of voice assistants and networking protocols, including Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri as well as WiFi, Thread and Bluetooth LE. At its simplest, the promise of Matter is that you'll be able to buy a new device and it will simply work with your existing smart home setup.