Project CHIP, the smart home standard on which Amazon, Apple and Google, among others, are working together, will now be known as Matter. The first smart home products that will use this IP-based protocol should appear by the end of 2021.
Next the name change to Matter changes the group responsible for the standard also by name. This group was called The Zigbee Alliance and since Wednesday has been known as the Connectivity Standards Alliance, or CSA for short. The alliance says it will change names “to better align ourselves with our role in shaping the future of IoT.”
Matter development started in 2019, when Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, SmartThings and The Zigbee Alliance came together to develop a universal standard. Now 180 organizations and more than 1,700 individuals are participating to develop the standard, such as IKEA, NXP and Signify. The standard for Wednesday was called Project CHIP, short for Project Connected Home over IP.
Matter is to become a ‘unified, IP-based connectivity protocol’ that will allow smart home devices from different brands to work together. The standard will not use royalties, will be open source and will work with existing technologies, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11, Thread version 802.15.4 and Bluetooth Low Energy. Matter products must be able to work with voice assistants and smart home services such as Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and SmartThings.
At the beginning of May, the feature-complete base specification approved by the Matter working group, which according to CSA means manufacturers can now test the implementation. The first products must be certified by the end of 2021. CSA expects to be able to certify all kinds of products by the end of this year, such as lamps, sockets, thermostats, door locks, TVs and security devices.
According to CSA, the protocol not only means that consumers know that the devices work together, but also that developers do not have to spend time developing their own protocols. In addition, the standard should ensure that consumers return smart home products to stores less often, because the devices do not work together with other smart home devices. Matter must also have advantages for retailers.