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IOT - does it Matter?
Tech Talk

by Jeff Shields 2023-06-10

IOT (Internet of Things) are smart devices with sensors used in home automation such as lights, security cameras, smart plugs, thermostats and even some medical equipment. Home fridges, ranges and other appliances are also incorporating smart technologies.

Until recently, you could not mix and match devices due to incompatibilities in their underlying software. Two communication protocols, Zigbee and Z-Wave, were in use, so many devices could not talk to each other. So if you were using Echo, Nest, Alexa or HomeKit, you had to select devices that were compatible with those hubs.

Late in 2022, the 3 major tech companies - Google, Amazon and Apple - and many device manufactures including Samsung and Phillips and the Zigbee Alliance released a new protocol, Matter, that is an extension to Zigbee. Any device that supports Matter can communicate with each other and do not need a central hub. It means that you can now mix and match devices from different manufactures as long as they support Matter.

Older devices that support over the air upgrades will eventually be upgradable to Matter. Some will use an existing hub that can be upgraded to Matter, unifying your IOT devices.

One of the benefits of Matter is that you will not need a central hub and is meant to be local to your home so you do not need to depend on the cloud. It also uses AES encryption, which is backed-up by banking-standard, public-key cryptography.

The list of devices that Matter will cover is pretty exhaustive – lighting and electrics, heating and cooling, locks and security devices, windows and blinds, and TVs are all included – and the line-up of alliance members and participants reads like a who’s who of the smart home tech world: Huawei, Oppo, Logitech, Xiaomi, iRobot and Panasonic are just some of the names on the 240-strong list.

In short, it should have your whole smart home covered.

Although still in its infancy, Matter is the future of home automation. So, does it Matter? The answer is ‘yes’.

Last Updated on: 2023-08-02