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Matter Takes Shape With Launches From Amazon, Samsung and More

Amazon, Samsung and other brands that support Matter took to Amsterdam to make their pitches for the new, universal smart home standard.

The logo for the Matter universal smart home standard against a grey background.
Screenshot/CNET

The Connected Standards Alliance and its members took to Amsterdam Thursday to showcase Matter, a newly released universal smart home standard that promises to simplify the connected home. With the support of major industry players including Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and more -- and with a surge of Matter-compatible smart home gadgets expected to arrive in 2023 -- the event served as a sneak peak at where the smart home might be headed next as the long-delayed standard finally starts to take shape.

"It is truly one of the biggest engineering efforts in years," said CSA President Tobin Richardson during keynote remarks that kicked off the event. "To see this kind of collaboration between companies that normally try to eat each other on the market, they come together here, and they work together on something that builds the market together."

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Representatives from companies like Amazon and Silicon Labs showcase Matter's launch and announce plans for the standard's future.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Along with big names like Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung, sponsors for the event included Ikea, Lutron, Signify and several others, many of whom used the occasion to announce new plans for the standard, or to tease new Matter-compatible devices. 

Amazon said that Matter compatibility for Alexa and for multiple generations of Echo smart speakers and Eero routers will arrive on Android by the end of this year, supporting connections with Matter-compatible plugs, lights and more over Wi-Fi. Early next year, you can expect to see that same Matter support arrive in iOS, too, along with support for connections made using Thread, a low-power standard that transmits over Wi-Fi to help facilitate Matter connections between compatible devices.

"This approach allows us to begin rolling out Matter support for the most common device types, and the most prevalent network in customers' homes," explained Marja Koopmans, director of smart home and health for Amazon.

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In addition, Amazon teamed with Samsung to demonstrate new, Matter-powered interoperability between Alexa and SmartThings that will allow you to add devices to both platforms at once directly from your phone's operating system, instead of needing to authenticate them with each platform's app individually. Amazon added that the Works with Alexa certification program now also includes a specified certification process for Matter.

"This is going to help ensure that if a device maker builds a Matter device, that they can get WWA certified, and they can get that badge when they release their product to the market, which helps them reach more customers," said Chris DeCenzo, Amazon's technical lead for Matter and chair of the Matter steering committee.

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Event sponsor Silicon Labs showcased a new system on a chip built to facilitate Matter transmissions over a variety of protocols.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Apple made a similar move earlier this year, updating its "Works with Apple HomeKit" badge to a new "Works with Apple Home" badge that's designed to incorporate support for Matter.

"Apple Home isn't just about HomeKit anymore," an Apple spokesperson told CNET.

Other speakers at the event included Manish Kothari from Silicon Labs, who showcased a new system on a chip built with Matter in mind, as well as representatives from companies like Tuya and Schneider Electric, each of which touted the potential impact of Matter support across their product lines.

"The idea is to connect, not to replace," said Sitao Ma, Schneider Electric's VP of connected home systems and CTO for home and distribution, emphasizing the importance of backwards compatibility in ensuring that Matter serves as a rising tide for the entire industry.

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Matter is planning a biannual release cycle, with key updates delivered twice per year. The next, planned for 2023, should add new categories into the mix, including robot vacuums, smart home cameras, and garage door openers.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

As for Matter's immediate future, Richardson announced that the CSA is planning a regular, biannual release cycle for the standard, with key updates delivered twice a year. Here at launch, Matter is designed to support several key categories, including plugs, lights, thermostats and TVs -- the next update, due in six months, should deliver support for new categories, including high-profile devices like robot vacuums and smart home cameras.

"This is an incredible milestone for consumers, an incredible milestone for the industry," Richardson said. "I'm so excited to see what comes next."