Why your smart home is still dumb, and what Matter is doing about that
16:40

Why your smart home is still dumb, and what Matter is doing about that

Smart Home
Speaker 1: The smart home or connected home is something that appeals to almost everyone. It's pretty universal technology. And yet here we are roughly 10 years in if you count the earliest days and about a third of American homes have invested in smart home tech, maybe a little less, not even half, certainly not a majority. Now what Tobin, Richardson's gonna have some ideas because he is leading a group that is trying to solve a lot of that [00:00:30] log jam. If you will, of consumer adoption and embrace, and frankly, comprehension of what smart home technology is and how to get it in your house and get it to work. It's been a bit of a tough hill for a lot of consumers. Decline. Tobin is president and CEO of the connectivity standards Alliance. And we're gonna talk about an initiative called matter, which consumers are going to see as a new program that seeks to make smart home easier. So Tobin, that's easy for me to say, how will matter do that? Speaker 2: Matt's gonna solve [00:01:00] a lot of problems for consumer right now. You know, you see a lot of, uh, really kind of closed ecosystems and, and islands that people have to kind of live on. And these products just don't simply work together. So two things are happening. One, you need a standard in which, uh, companies can rely on that will work, uh, from device to device, talk to the cloud appropriately, um, and do so in a secure way. So Matt's gonna provide the standard that does that, but that's just one part of it. Companies actually have to use it and companies have to do this globally. So we're really fortunate to have [00:01:30] really the world's leaders, innovators, uh, from Google, Ikea Presidio, Samsung smart things, uh, to really regional innovators as well. So we've got everybody basically on the planet agreeing, okay, I give up, I'm not gonna create these, you know, long, uh, long, you know, walled gardens anymore. We're gonna get together. We understand the consumers need this. Um, and we think the smart home is, is really just at the beginning. So we know that this is the route so matter is really gonna deliver that standard that delivers interoperability for device to device communication in the home. And we've got basically every [00:02:00] major company on the planet agreeing to Speaker 1: Do it. That would seem to solve forward. A lot of consumers have run into, which is okay. Some of the things I bought are ZigBee summer Z-Wave summer wifi. Maybe some are even using a form of Bluetooth and they were confronted with having to understand how, first of all, what those even are, most of them had only heard of wifi and Bluetooth and what are these two Zs that are out there and how to get them to work together. So you're seeking to make that invisible. I hope. Speaker 2: Yeah. And we're, we're doing that in a couple of different ways, right? So we wanna take a good ethical approach [00:02:30] to this too. We don't want people to just take every device they have right now that doesn't have this new standard and throw it away. Right. So we wanna make sure that there's respect for all of the great work that continues to happen on Zig beer and, and some of these other protocols, cuz there's gonna be some tale to that. There's gonna be some, some, you know, continued growth there, but we wanna provide a unifying standard. So when we're moving forward in this kind of IP world, consumers, don't have to think about this. It's just like, I really like that thermostat. I really like that light bulb. I want to have scenes happen in this way or that way. And I could just look for the logo doesn't [00:03:00] matter. Uh, you know what manufacturer it is so long as it's got that matter logo, it's all just gonna work together seamlessly. It's gonna take a process, um, in terms of getting all that, uh, put into place. And we'll, we've got some, uh, methods that we're gonna provide for manufacturers to do that with, uh, certain protocols as we all move and kind of, uh, align on matter. Speaker 1: Uh, you don't have all the connectivity standards, all happily gained together at the same table yet. Do you? Speaker 2: I would say we're in the same conference room. We're not yet at the same table. And uh, it's a, it's [00:03:30] a really good question, right? Because we have, uh, we, we're looking to bring in a lot of that under the same roof and, and CSA or connectivity standards Alliance. We rebranded us to three months ago to do just that, to really provide an open really good collaborative global community to really solve a lot of the IOT. And especially in this near term, in the smart home. Now we could do that by bringing in new working groups, uh, bringing in other organizations under that umbrella or doing what we're doing really well right now, which is partnering with these organizations. We have terrifically liaisons [00:04:00] with a thread group and wifi Alliance. And with those two organizations, those will really be the first areas where you see matter devices coming to the market. So we do that by kind of exchanging how does their spec work? How does our spec work that way when product manufacturers are doing this, we've thought through all the integration there. So that'll be really kind of our near term focus. And I think over the long, we'll see, you know, what makes sense in terms of bringing these groups together, uh, under, under one roof where, where it makes sense. Speaker 1: Yeah, I know. Um, I know there, you know, there are some very strong allegiances [00:04:30] in those groups where they say, look, this is our vision of the future. It's all about our connectivity standard. And that's what we're bolted to. They can be, those can be difficult allegiances to pull art. Everyone has to ask, you know, where does apple sit in this? Cuz there's such a taste maker for what consumers think is the way forward? Where does apple sit? Where does it overlay? I guess on the matter, uh, effort, Speaker 2: We're really excited to have apple as, uh, part of the matter effort actually really taking a, a driving seat with, uh, with several other companies. So they're [00:05:00] actually, they joined the board of directors for CSA. They are really buying all into this, uh, this open approach to work across ecosystem. And like I said, that's really a tough, uh, a very tough, uh, step for folks to make. And so if we do that, we have to make sure that we're, you know, we're a good place for them to come. That's safe, that they can bring in their intellect and all their experience join hands with, with all their competitors. That's, that's a tricky part to these organizations. And these alliances is these guys are trying to kill each other in the market, but they all agree, Hey, the market's gonna be a lot bigger if we [00:05:30] work together and we do so in an open way that I have an equal voice as everybody else, not more dominant, not, not less dominant, but I can operate in kind of a level playing field. And that's what the CSA offers. We've got 20 years experience, uh, as you said, with the vertical, uh, technology around Zigby, but really more importantly, uh, looking at how things, you know, connect securely, uh, how we can operate globally, uh, and really bring all of this community together in a way that we can create fair standards that, that, uh, really adhere to good openness principles. And, and that's what Apple's bought into. And [00:06:00] that's what so many other companies have bought into. Speaker 1: As we mentioned, a lot of what we have now kind of came out of the ZigBee side through connectivity standards Alliance, branded now as matter, but you're saying now this is not going to be really, uh, ZigBee biased. It's going pretty inclusive. As much as you can work out with all the connectivity technologies out there that relate to Speaker 2: The home on another topic, we should talk about kind of this whole notion of a full stack interoperability. There's a great heritage and, and legacy there that, [00:06:30] uh, consumers should not care about, but it actually provides a great basis for how these devices work seamlessly together. But over the course of our, of our history of the organization, we kind of separated this notion of that connectivity component and the language. And that's that common unifying piece, which is that language of the devices. So we created this and rebranded the organization. So that even on, on its surface you'll know that this is not just Zibi. This is the connectivity standards, plural Alliance, uh, where companies can feel safe to [00:07:00] come in, uh, develop standards that won't be biased, but they will get the benefit of those other standards and bring those meaningful standards into Speaker 1: The market. Yeah. So, uh, people who've watched this show for a while, may notice I'm in a different background, kind of a messy background just recently moved myself. So now I'm busy unpacking boxes. One of my first jobs going to be to outfit this new place with a lot of smart home, I may not carry over the stuff I had at the old house. It was older, it was dated. So I'm starting AF fresh. What will it be for me? And I, I do this for a living, but I'm still dreading [00:07:30] it to be honest because I know it's a lot of every part I will buy every switch, every light, every irrigation timer, every thermostat has a different setup process. This, how much can you make it consistent in your vision? And Speaker 2: I, I won't, uh, kind of, uh, uh, tip the hat of, of what the working group is, uh, working sorting through right now, but really that's, that's the key. And we've been talking about this for years. What is that common joining process? What's the setup process? How do you keep it secure so that it can't be spoofed and you can't really kind of, you know, turn into these insecure networks, uh, but do a consistent way [00:08:00] that you and I can do it. And we live in this world and it's still complex, right? I mean, and so that's, that is very important. That is one of the most important things that this, this working group is, uh, coming out with right now. And we expect the matter will have a very, uh, consistent and simple way to set up devices. Speaker 1: That's step one. That's where the consumer gets their first taste when they bring this stuff home and open the box and say, wow, I heard this is really cool stuff to put in the house, man, if set up and joining is hard, they just have a, they can have a bad taste in their mouth for it all the way down the road, first impressions [00:08:30] and all that important Speaker 2: For retailers too. Right? I mean, they don't want the returns if you're, you know, everybody cares about this. And, and that's one of the great things about the, the working group right now is we have the whole ecosystem system represented from chip manufacturers through to retail and end, uh, and users. And that's really important that they're all represented, cuz they're all bringing a unique experience. You and I, as consumers, we have our, you know, our dread in terms of setting up new networks and, and I do the same thing. I put up some patio lights about, uh, three weeks ago and I'm looking at a, at a smart plug and I'm thinking, well, that's wifi, [00:09:00] but I've gotta do this part. Well now I've gotta change the S S I D okay, what am I gonna do here? Um, and so we've gotta get rid of that. We've gotta get rid of that complexity, but every part of the value chain has a part to play. So whether it's Kroger stores or Ikea, or whether it's a S T micro or NXP or Schneider electric, all of these guys have great domain expertise in that, in that process. And everybody in the same room are gonna, we're gonna come up with one that delivers the best, best experience for consumers Speaker 1: To a lot of consumers, a smart home platform [00:09:30] went from very quickly from being a hub, to being a Hubli idea, and then rapidly became in their minds that voice speaker on the kitchen, that's the hub of my smart home, the voice platforms, Google and Amazon in particular boy, they rushed in and rapidly established mind share as the platform for my smart home. And yet they kind of, aren't, they're really just an interface for my at home. How are you gonna make this all harmonize in the consumer's mind? So they understand the voices and [00:10:00] interface to a platform that I guess would be matter. Speaker 2: So that'll still really be left up to the, the consumer. How do I want to interface with my smart home? Do I want to, you know, only go through a home I or a smartphone interface or do I want to go through a speaker and matter, should a now really any of those experiences to work. And that's, that's part of the part that we wanna make sure that all of this platform just integrates easily, but still allows a lot of room for innovation to define what that might be, and maybe there's an experience or, or interface that we [00:10:30] haven't thought of yet. Um, and maybe it's on our TV, right? I mean, we've got to support for TVs and, and matter as well as a speaker. So we really wanted to let a lot of room for innovation on that. Still keeping that initial setup, uh, very easy, but also more room for innovation in terms of how consumers interact with that. Speaker 1: Would you, uh, would you agree with the idea that apple, Google and Amazon, the three big voice platforms among other platforms, uh, that they have an outsize sway [00:11:00] in the direction of how smart home goes? Because so many consumers think that that's, that's where smart home lives is in their voice platforms, Speaker 2: The sheer mind mindspace they certainly do. And, and that's in, and you've described the us market and in, in China, it's gonna be SHA me and oppo and Huawei and others a degree, right. And so that's where consumers are going for their first experience. Um, and so certainly in terms of how that's structured, um, that's why it's kind of an interesting and, and awesome, uh, thing that they have joined into [00:11:30] the matter working group, because it's democratizing a lot of these platforms. So to a degree they're putting that position at risk because they're, they're a opening up more. They don't have that ability to lock people in as much with, uh, with open standards like this, um, in the smart home. So it's, it's a potentially very nervous thing for them to do, but it will open up and democratize it Speaker 1: As we wrap up, let's turn to the future. Um, I have a pretty strong contention that smart home isn't yet that it's connected home as we sit here in 2021, a [00:12:00] little bit of smarts here and there, but for the most part we've achieved connectivity. We have remote control nailed. We've got the ability to unify everything into one interface that works well, use it from wherever we are, thanks to mobile technology and all that. But the smart part to me says these devices are going to very, very elegantly, understand what I need anticipated and do it, uh, to at this point, that's not really the case in my, in my experience. I I'm largely commanding them still. Uh, how will matter [00:12:30] play if you agree with my concept, how will matter play in the increasing move from just connected to Speaker 2: Smart. I couldn't agree with you more, Brian. Um, you know, we are, and as I mentioned before, we're really just at the beginning of smart home. Um, you look at, and, and you said 10 years ago, I'll go 20 years ago, uh, to a visit to Seattle. Uh, if you remember, uh, a guy by the name of bill gates had a really interesting, smart home where you could wear know effectively a label, uh, that had an NFC chip in it, or the equivalent at that point. Um, and maybe you like Monet, and I like mango. [00:13:00] You go into a room, the TV screens, turn to Vango, it's anticipating what you like and the fact that you actually want the artwork to change. That's a, that's a 20 year old use case, right. Um, and that's anticipating, um, but to, to a degree we're still in that command and control, uh, place right now matter, really kind of provides that base platform that we can then build on. Speaker 2: If you are dealing with these, you know, kind of crossover, ecosystems and platforms with all of the different, uh, rules and, and things like that, you're, you're not gonna get there. You're just gonna be managing different command and [00:13:30] control. So we look at artificial intelligence and things like that. One of the things that they benefit from our common data sets and common language, and that's one of the things that matter provides is that kind of common language for devices. Now, as you look at innovators, you and I come up with an idea for what an anticipatory kind of rule, uh, would be that, uh, you know, well, Brian comes home if the weather's over 95 degrees and he's coming home in the Tesla versus the, the, uh, the F1 50 lightning, then, uh, you know, he wants the temperature down to this degree because I've seen him change the thermostat [00:14:00] to this amount. Speaker 2: Well, those are four or five different platforms you're talking about of information. How do I get them integrated? Oh, they're all talking the same language. Okay. So now I can just tap into that service and everything just works well, that's, that's a really exciting kind of a, you know, use case, but it's, you know, we're nowhere near that today. Um, so matter is a critical element in that, uh, in simplifying kind of that harmonized data set or that data model and what we call a language of the internet of things, a language of the devices, now that everything's talking the same language, I could start doing this cool new stuff. I [00:14:30] could start using that for cool new AI applications and anticipating. And like you said, making it a smart home, not just to connect at home. Speaker 1: So let me take that, uh, let me take that one step further. Is there, uh, any vision where matter becomes not just a platform for data sharing, but a repository for that intelligence? I mean, this is the power of Google or Facebook is not just that they're a place where information can move, but they bring it all together and develop awareness of me. And what I ostensibly need will matter go that direction. [00:15:00] Or are you just going to be a platform for others to do that kind of intelligence building and to use the word that people don't like profiling, Speaker 2: We're probably just right behind them. And, and we'll see, uh, the way that that'll evolve is we'll put in place this platform, we'll see what they're able to do. If there becomes a common approach on top of that, that's where we'll step in and, and be the, the, uh, the standard for that. So really the way that these usually work is we figure out these use cases of, of innovation. And then we standardize those parts that make sense that what I call kind [00:15:30] of the highest commons and nominator. So certainly I think five to 10 years out as we look and see matter really implemented in billions of homes. Uh, that's definitely something we could get into. Speaker 1: Let's talk about the shorter timeline. When will I, as a consumer start going on to Amazon or best buy or reading CNET reviews and seeing matter as a label that guides me to products. When am I gonna this on the shelf Speaker 2: In, in months, which is, uh, pretty exciting. Uh, this is one of the fastest, uh, development efforts I've ever seen in standards. Um, we [00:16:00] still have, you know, some milestones to get through in terms of testing. Uh, but usually we're still on the paper stage at this point. We're actually already testing products. Um, so companies are, uh, doing virtual tests, uh, over the web right now, again, uh, against the standard. So we'll continue with those tests over the next several months, I would expect, you'll see some cool mockups at CES. Um, and, uh, and I would look forward to Q1 Q2, where we'll see, start seeing, you know, things in Amazon Tobin Speaker 1: Richardson is the CEO and president of the connectivity at standard Alliance. We've been talking [00:16:30] about an effort called matter.

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