Robot housekeepers. Flying cars that fold into briefcases. Automated beds that collapse into the floor. These were some of the remarkable inventions on The Jetsons, the popular 1960s cartoon. Much of the show's technology—from smart watches to videoconferencing—now exists. Yet most connected homes still don't look like George and Judy Jetson's, where a central computer ran everything.
Today, we have small, connected devices—like smart doorbells, smart light bulbs, and smart thermostats—that make your life more convenient. But they aren't all compatible. For years, the smart home industry has locked consumers into buying devices from the same brand, like Amazon Alexa™, Apple Home®, Google Home®, or Samsung® SmartThings™, to make sure they work together.
Enter Matter™, a new standard that simplifies smart home systems, making it easier to connect and use devices from different brands. We'll walk you through everything you need to know about Matter—and why it matters for your smart home.
Matter isn't a product. It's a software update, essentially a system of rules that makes sure your smart devices work together. Think of it like a shared language between devices, making it easier for you to buy, set up, and use any smart tech you want—and control it from any platform.
Let's say you're in the market for the Wyze™ Bulb White, which is great and affordable, but only compatible with Google Assistant™ and Amazon Alexa. With Matter, you'll soon be able to use it regardless of your smart home hub.
Who is behind Matter?
Matter was created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), a group of more than 300 companies, including Amazon®, Apple®, Google®, and Samsung®, that sets standards for smart devices and other tech. To read the full list, go to the Matter website.
How does Matter benefit you?
From limited options to pricey products, Matter is the antidote to many of today's tech headaches. Let's break down the benefits.
- More choices of smart products you can buy.
- Easier to buy, set up, secure, and use your smart devices.
- Lower costs because building smart devices will be less expensive for developers and manufacturers.
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When is the Matter release date?
Matter officially launched on November 3, 2022. A small number of compatible products are available now, and many more will start rolling out in early 2023.
What platforms and devices support Matter?
If you already own a smart device, you may have noticed that the packaging or website description included disclaimers like “Works with Alexa™" or “Works with Apple Home." Matter devices work with all systems. That means that Google Nest™, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings can work together seamlessly in the same home. So far, CSA has certified (or is in the process of certifying) 190 products.
The types of devices that now support Matter include:
- Door locks
- HVAC controls
- Plugs and outlets
- Light bulbs and light switches
- Media devices
- Safety and security sensors
- Blinds and shades
Other devices, like robot vacuums, cameras, garage door controllers, and home appliances, will be compatible with Matter soon.
Devices that now support Matter include:
- Apple devices running iOS® 16.1, iPadOS® 16.1, HomePod OS 16.1, tvOS 16.1, and watchOS 9.1
- Aeotec® and Samsung SmartThings® Hubs (V2 and newer).
Devices that'll be updated to support Matter include:
- Most Amazon Echo™ and Echo Show™ smart speakers and displays
- Brilliant® smart home control panels.
- Eero Beacon®, Eero® Pro, Eero Pro 6, and Eero 6 mesh Wi-Fi routers.
- All Eve devices with Thread®.
- Google Nest Thermostat.
- Philips® Hue™ smart lights.
Will your existing devices automatically update to Matter?
Yes, most existing smart home devices will have software updates that upgrade them to the Matter standard. Look out for an email or in-app notification from those manufacturers for more information. New smart devices will come with the Matter logo on them, which looks like three rounded arrows facing each other.
What devices will I need to take advantage of Matter?
All you need is Wi-Fi and something with which to control your Matter-compatible devices, like a voice assistant, a smart speaker, or a hub and app. Whatever you choose, make sure the controller is charged up and connects to your home network.
What's Thread, and how does it relate to Matter and my smart devices?
Thread is a new, low-power wireless mesh network that connects the tech in your home, extending its reach and making Matter faster, more efficient, and more reliable. Thread, which is built into many new smart devices (like locks, sensors, and bulbs), works with your existing Wi-Fi network to connect new devices to one another, thereby creating a more powerful network that boosts coverage. So, if a device stops working, Thread ensures another one will cover for it, maintaining the signal. And if you lose Wi-Fi, Thread can keep your devices going.
Think about it this way: While Matter improves how your smart home devices work together, Thread boosts the connections between them.
If you have Thread-compatible smart devices, you'll also need a Thread border router to connect your home Wi-Fi with the Thread network. To learn more, read our guide on Thread and how it works with your smart home.
What does Matter mean for the future of smart home devices?
With Matter, creating and operating your smart home will be easier, more reliable, and less expensive. Whether you're choosing which devices to buy, setting them up, or turning them on and off throughout the day, every aspect of your smart home will soon be seamless, and perhaps one day, even more like something out of The Jetsons.
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