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Smart Home Companies Should Use Matter's Delay to Prepare for Fall 2022 Launch
The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) has delayed the launch of its Matter smart home connectivity protocol as it works to finalize its software development kit (SDK) and ensure that it works as expected for all its member devices. Originally scheduled to launch in summer 2022, Matter is now scheduled to be ready in the fall, meaning that Matter-compatible devices are expected to start arriving on the market by the end of 2022 at the earliest, and possibly later into 2023.
What Is Matter?
Matter is an outgrowth of Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP), which was formed in 2019 by Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create an open source smart home standard that ensures each company’s devices work together. It is designed to work with existing protocols, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Thread, to take advantage of their ubiquity in the market. Project CHIP rebranded to Matter in August 2021 to make it easier for users to tell which devices are compatible, and announced that the standard would be delayed to early 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been a factor in the delays getting Matter to market, but the project is also complex, given that it encompasses more than 200 companies and their devices. In addition, the delay in 2021 was partly caused by accommodating new members to the standard, which has increased the complexity even further.
The Value of Matter
Creating a universal standard is key to increasing consumer uptake in the smart home space, as it would let consumers know that they will be able to use the devices they’ve bought, particularly if they buy devices individually rather than as part of a package from the likes of Vivint Smart Home or SimpliSafe. However, in building a standard for everyone, the CSA risks increasing the standard’s complexity to the point that it can never finish the SDK, thereby benefiting no one.
Staying Focused on Matter
The CSA is right to be transparent about the current state of development and has said it will make version 0.9 of the specification available to all members at mid-year. If it hasn’t already, it should wait to accept any new members until it has completed version 1.0 of the specification to avoid the risk of scope creep. For companies, meanwhile, the recommendation is to use what is already available to prepare for the full launch: smart lighting company Signify was one of the earliest adopters, having committed to updates making its products, both past and current, compatible with Matter upon launch.