Internet of Things 08-29-2022

Matter — The Standard of the Future

Mike Nelson
digicert-blogimages-mar22

Matter is the first attempt to bring together the biggest names in smart home to develop a standard for secure, reliable interoperability for connected devices. However, Matter matters because it could go much further than just smart homes — it could be applied to all connected devices.

Up until now, device-to-device communication across brands has been lacking. But when Matter is widely available for smart home consumers, it means more compatibility with more devices, making it easier to purchase a secure and seamless connected smart home, no matter the brand. But the benefits of seamless connected devices could expand far beyond smart home. It could enable smart cities and connected buildings to interoperate reliably and securely, connected health devices of various brands to work together natively and even reliably connect devices in space.

A U.S. standard with global implications

Founded in the United States by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), Matter will be a global standard enabling secure, seamless digital connection around the world. Matter unified the connected device industry, including all the biggest names in smart home, like Apple, Google, Amazon and Samsung. It promises to be a reliable, secure seal of approval for connected devices to seamlessly integrate — which will benefit any market inundated with connected devices anywhere in the world.

It starts with smart home

Matter is more than just an initiative. Like Bluetooth, USB or Windows Plug and Play, it’s a standard that will become a common name. You can imagine consumers shopping for a new smart thermostat, asking, “Does this device have Matter?” similar to how they might shop for speakers and ask, “Does it have Bluetooth?” In short, having Matter on your connected devices will be a differentiator on products of the future. Whether it’s smart lighting, door locks, thermostats or home entertainment systems, Matter will enable consumers to simplify their connected homes and manage it all from a single voice assistant of their choice.

Smart city & connected buildings

Matter could enable smart cities and buildings to be connected by design, without complex or disparate systems. That way, all of the connected aspects of buildings, from lighting to energy consumption and access, can seamlessly integrate and provide a holistic picture of information. Matter could also help smart cities and connected buildings become greener by better controlling the systems that activate power, water, lighting and emissions based on reliable data sharing within the connected ecosystem. In fact, smart energy systems already exist today that allow homeowners to monitor their water and electricity from a single in-home display. If these systems could be scaled to the level of cities, a standard like Matter for interoperability could allow for the management of various systems from one, centralized controller.

Connected health possibilities

Imagine connected health devices that can communicate securely and reliably together. A smart hospital has likely even more devices than a smart home, with sensitive, critical data that administrators need to monitor quickly and securely. Within a healthcare system there are devices from all types of different manufacturers that need to work together to secure the transfer of sensitive data in a timely, reliable manner. These devices could include everything from patient monitors to smart beds, automated IV pumps and even non-healthcare-related devices like the hospital’s locks, thermostats and devices. In a connected healthcare environment, Matter would give hospital administrators greater control, security and an easier onboarding process for devices.

To the moon

While it may seem a long way out that a protocol like Matter could impact devices in space, it has already been in use. The same protocol used for smart home has been used in space to allow connected devices to communicate. The Zigbee protocol, also initiated by the CSA, was the wireless protocol of choice for transferring data between a NASA rover and a semi-autonomous flying drone. “It turns out that what makes Zigbee great for smart homes also makes it highly suitable for missions to the Red Planet,” explained Thomas Ricker, reporting on the use of Zigbee on Mars. Zigbee uses a low-energy method that makes it ideal for both small smart home devices and devices out of this world. Matter will also run on low energy and — who knows? — it could be used by NASA in space as well.

Become Matter compliant now

These potential uses of Matter may still be several years out, but manufactures of connected devices can prepare to become Matter compliant now. With compliant devices, manufacturers can issue the Matter logo on their devices so that customers can trust it to connect seamlessly and securely with their favorite products from brands like Apple, Google, Amazon, and all the biggest names in smart home.

DigiCert can help manufacturers become Matter compliant with the fastest time to market using our scalable management platform, DigiCert® IoT Device Manager. Learn more at https://www.digicert.com/iot/matter-iot-device-certification.

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