The world of IoT home devices is growing at an exponential rate. In fact, according to IDC, more than 895 million smart home devices shipped in 2021, and Deloitte estimates that the average American household has approximately 22 smart devices connected.
It’s easy to see the convenience of a smart IoT device in action—from baby monitors, thermostats and cameras to smart speakers, TVs and appliances. But research shows consumers still don’t believe their smart home devices are secure. In 2017, a Thales report found that more than 91% of those surveyed thought their devices were vulnerable to hacking or other threats.
Security concerns aside, the number of smart home device manufacturers continues to increase as rapidly as the smart home market, and more devices running on different platforms means more frustration for consumers. A camera works on Alexa but not on Apple HomeKit. A smart speaker runs on HomeKit but not on Google Home. Consumers have been forced to operate multiple platforms and dozens of ad hoc apps to set up and manage their devices. Technology moves fast, and a lack of update renders a device useless, meaning consumers are left with obsolete devices, confusing integrations, and unreliable operations. The state of smart home devices has often been anything but smart.
Matter is a unifying standard for seamless smart home connectivity, like Bluetooth. It’s a universal protocol that allows any Matter-enabled device to talk to any other Matter-enabled device or hub, regardless of manufacturer, use case, or smart home framework. And this communication is secure, even when the device can’t connect to the internet or the cloud.
The Matter protocol was created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), in partnership with world leaders in technology, like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung. The goal of Matter was designed to address two problems with home devices:
CSA is the body behind Zigbee and Z-Wave, previous connectivity standards for low-powered, low-cost wireless IoT network technology. While these protocols moved the industry toward better interoperability, smart homes still lacked truly seamless inter-device and cross-platform communication with high assurance security.
From the beginning, the CSA and its partners worked to build a new global standard that always works for any Matter-compliant device. Based on Project Connected Home Over IP (CHIP), Matter is an IP-based, open-source IoT security standard allowing manufacturers to create secure, consumer-ready, and universally interoperable smart home IoT.
Engineered with proven technologies, Matter helps manufacturers speed time-to-market while delivering best-in-class devices that work with any connector. For both manufacturers and consumers, Matter makes a better product and a better user experience.
Matter for smart home delivers ease-of-use and high assurance in four ways:
Robust encryption, identity, and authentication using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) issued on trusted roots.
Local connection over Wi-Fi enables security and consistent interactivity, even when cloud communication isn’t possible.
Native communication and operation between any Matter-compliance device and any hub from any manufacturer.
Easy to buy, easy to set up, easy to use.
In addition to the Connectivity Standards Alliance, Matter was carefully and intelligently constructed over years as a cooperative effort between the top technology companies and hundreds of partners.
Matter is led by the CSA and 28 promoters, including:
Matter is also supported by 268 participants, backing the security, hardware, and software that enable Matter functionality. Some of these participants include: Arris, Belkin, Bosch, BT – British Telecommunications, DigiCert, GE – General Electric, Hisense, Intel, iRobot, Lennox, Logitech, Mastercard, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Roku, Siemens, T-Mobile, Toshiba, Verizon and Wyze.
Together, the CSA, promoters, and participants helped establish the Matter standard, ensuring the protocol will work across the industry, around the world, regardless of manufacturer or connector platform.
Prior to the launch of Matter, 228 manufacturers and technology organizations joined the promoters and participants as adopters. In all, more than 500 companies and organizations agreed to compliance under the Matter standard.
Today, there are more than 3,000 companies and organizations from all segments of the supply chain, and that number is growing weekly.
Consumers have been eager to adopt smart home devices for convenience and peace of mind. And overall, these IoT devices are relatively inexpensive to produce, which means solid value for manufacturers and consumers alike.
The problem with the model, though, lies in proprietary systems, where manufacturers build devices according to the logic and cost-benefit that makes the most sense for them, even when that process or product may not work for company or consumer in all circumstances or over time. This isn’t a manufacturing fault. It’s simply the nature of an industry and market that lacks a standard for providing a better model.
Without a standard, IoT smart home devices often roll off the line with attributes that frustrate consumers and make the devices vulnerable. These include:
While many manufacturers have already seen the potential benefits of adopting Matter, some companies may worry that meeting Matter compliance creates challenges in manufacturing processes or marketability. In reality, though, Matter helps manufacturers build a better product for consumers while broadening marketability.
By operating on a universal standard, Matter compliance offers several advantages to manufacturers, including:
Regardless of manufacturer, Matter enables simple setup and connection on any ecosystem. Confusing, proprietary setup processes are replaced by standardized, straightforward connect-and-run steps. Matter promises true plug-and-play ease, meaning consumers are more likely to buy, because they know the device will work without effort.
Universal standards help manufacturers create unique products that integrate seamless interoperability, so devices connect to and run on any Matter ecosystem. For example, a consumer will no longer have to buy a different device because the one they’re considering only works with Google Home and the rest of their devices run on Amazon Alexa.
When a manufacturer is certified as Matter-compliant, they can put the Matter logo on their product, packaging, and marketing. This serves as a signal to consumers that the device has met the universal standard for interoperability, reliability, simplicity, and security. Consumers can buy, trusting that the device will connect and run with ease and strong privacy and data protection—a trust which is extended to the manufacturer meeting Matter compliance.
Universal standards simplify development, manufacturing, and update operations by eliminating the need to create and maintain in-house proprietary systems and processes. Once integrated, the Matter protocol acts as the backbone of smart home communication and security, freeing up resources that used to go to ensuring devices would connect to hubs, platforms, and home ecosystems.
As a global standard where the responsibility for ensuring reliability and making improvements rests with the members of the initiative, Matter helps manufacturers shift attention away from basic compatibility issues, giving teams and companies more time and resources for engineering and building new and improved smart home devices.
With its widespread adoption, concerns and issues will more quickly identified and remedied, as hundreds and eventually thousands of manufacturers and organizations work with the same Matter protocol every day. Information about solutions and improvements disseminates quickly, and support for devices improves as this information helps individual manufacturers quickly and easily update devices and communicate with consumers.
With Matter, manufacturers produce a better product—one that is reliable, secure, and easy to use—at a lower cost of time and resources invested. This helps manufacturers more quickly put stronger products on the shelf, even as it broadens markets by allowing consumers to buy any Matter-enabled device, regardless of the connector ecosystem they use at home. All this offers the opportunity for higher revenues.
Before enabling Matter on your device, it’s important to understand the foundation of the protocol. There are two components of the Matter standard: security and certification.
When the CSA began developing Matter, they, along with Google, Apple, and Amazon, invited leading security experts to build high assurance encryption, identity, and authentication into the protocol. After investigating all the best options, the organizations behind Matter selected Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) as the only security solution capable of providing all the necessary security attributes for interoperable smart home devices.
Not to be confused with the certificates that provide security, CSA outlines a certification process that ensures devices are fully compliant with the Matter standard. Devices meeting the protocol earn the authority to sell as a Matter smart home device, a distinction that includes branding with the Matter logo on the product and product packaging.
PKI is a proven technology, long used to encrypt the web. Manufacturers and consumers may be most familiar with PKI as TLS/SSL web certificates, which have served as the uncompromising security foundation of the internet for decades.
In addition to web security, though, PKI certificates can be applied to anything that connects, including IoT devices. These certificates deliver three critical attributes that enable on-device and in-transit security.
Data is cryptographically secured while in transit, so anything transmitted to or from the device and ecosystem cannot be read.
Encrypted data cannot be altered, so device software and communication is shielded against tampering.
The cryptographically unique keys in Public Key Infrastructure ascribe distinct identification to devices, which ensures ecosystems know that device is what it claims to be as the true, authorized end-point with permission to connect and communicate.
Matter relies on a specific form of PKI certificate, known as a Device Attestation Certificate, or DAC. DACs are a X.509 certificate that ascribe identity and provide integrity and encryption to Matter-enabled devices for node-to-node and device-to-cloud secure communication.
Device Attestation Certificates must be issued on trusted roots, so their integrity meets the highest standard of connected security.
Matter-enabled devices deliver trust and interoperability through a hierarchy of secure communication based on PKI certificates that begin at the root.
While Device Attestation Certificates can be issued from a root CA established by a manufacturer, building and maintaining an in-house trusted root for certificate issuance is complicated. In-house PKI involves a great deal of expertise, and even if correctly established, maintaining that root and managing certificates requires time and resources. There is no “set it and forget it” option for Do-It-Yourself PKI.
The quick and comprehensive route to Matter compliance is by means of a third-party CA. Certificate Authorities already have trusted roots, many of which are long established, and offer years of proven history with PKI solutions.
As part of the consulting body that developed Matter, DigiCert has played an integral and foundational role in establishing the security standards built into Matter. And DigiCert was the first CA to be approved by the CSA as a trusted root for issuing DACs.
Certification with the Connectivity Standards Alliance shows interoperability and security and allows you to sell your products
as official Matter devices, using the logo.
Drawing on decades of experience as a world leader in PKI, and built on the flexible and scalable architecture of DigiCert® ONE, DigiCert IoT Trust Manager makes the process of reaching Matter compliance fast and simple.
DigiCert IoT Trust Manager integrates with any existing ecosystem and manufacturing process, so you can issue and manage Matter-approved Device Attestation Certificates without disruption to your product line. With DigiCert IoT Trust Manager, you can issue high volumes of certificates in seconds, at any stage from silicon injection to field operation.
Once issued, certificates can be easily managed using automated processes that power OTA updates, scanning and indexing, renewal, revocation, and reissuance. DigiCert maintains Matter compliance for these certificates, all of which are issued on roots trusted around the world to protect web, email, servers, software, and many forms of IoT.