The new protocol gains more support from Amazon as Matter-compatible devices begin to emerge.
We're poised for a redesign of smart home architecture in 2022 with the debut of Matter. As Amazon defines it, Matter is "a home automation connectivity standard that allows smart home devices to work with each other across different smart home systems." As CES 2022 opens Wednesday, Amazon announced some feature support for developers and device-makers looking to create products compatible with Matter.
We're eager to see how Matter changes the way smart home devices from different brands communicate with each other. So far, it looks like Amazon is fully onboard. Here's a roundup of what the company announced for developers and device-makers.
Amazon launched Frustration Free Setup in 2018. It's a feature that makes getting your smart home devices up and running a quick, streamlined experience. You take the device out of the box, power it on and the device automatically connects to your network. It's already available on a majority of Amazon-branded devices like Echo speakers, Fire TVs and Eero routers, as well as dozens of other brands sold on Amazon.com.
When Amazon discussed Matter at Alexa Live last year, it promised to bring this feature to Matter-compatible devices. Today, Amazon announced that the documentation device-makers need to make this happen is now available. Its blog post also notes that brands including Sengled, TP-Link and Lifx are working with Amazon to make the most of Matter and Frustration Free Setup.
Amazon says developers can review the Frustration Free Setup documentation, onboard their devices and integrate manufacturing for Matter Wi-Fi devices now. Products that use Thread, a separate protocol that allows low-power mesh connections between devices, will follow later in 2022.
The Matter protocol includes a multiple administrator feature that allows Matter devices to be controlled by multiple smart home systems. That's the key idea behind the Matter concept. In theory, a customer will be able to control one device in a variety of ways, including with different smart home platforms and voice assistants.
Today, Amazon announced what it calls "Commissionable Endpoint Alexa" capability. That's a key part of setting up Alexa to control other devices across platforms and systems. Essentially, it allows Alexa to be added as a Matter Administrator for a device that's already set up. It also sets up the device to use Alexa either via the cloud skill or via a local network through Matter. This helps devices function even when there's a connectivity issue. Amazon's blog post notes that brands like Philips Hue and Resideo will provide this support for customers with their Matter-enabled devices.
The Matter protocol is still a bit vague and veiled in mystery and developer-heavy language. How it will work and exactly what it will bring to the everyday smart home user is still rather foggy. It's likely a solid step forward for big brands to collaborate on compatibility, and we'll keep an eye on Matter features and services as they're announced and launched.