As of November 3, the long-awaited Matter smart home protocol is officially ready to be embraced. But what Matter truly means for those with smart home devices is still a bit difficult to understand from a non-technical perspective. Luckily, Amazon and Samsung have teamed up to help us all grasp the Connectivity Standards Alliance’s end goal.
Over 200 smart home companies have committed to carrying out Matter’s promise of interoperability. While Matter should greatly benefit the smaller smart home device brands, it’s the support of major players that has allowed Matter to seem plausible. Think: Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung.
But it’s Amazon and Samsung specifically that are taking a big step together to show how Matter can make setting up a smart home simpler with its multi-admin feature. The Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings platforms will, as encouraged through Matter, guarantee interoperability, choice and flexibility for setting up new connected devices.
When users set up a device with Alexa, and has the SmartThings skill enabled, that device will automatically appear in the SmartThings home dashboard. Similarly, a device set up in SmartThings will automatically join the user’s Alexa home account as long as Thread network credentials are shared.
This means when you set up, say, a SmartThings-enabled Samsung smart TV, that TV should appear in your Alexa app and be controllable via the voice assistant without you needing to intervene. Or, when you get a new Alexa speaker like the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen), it should appear in the SmartThings dashboard on your Samsung phone. Third-party smart home devices should be eligible for the same convenience.
Works with Alexa for Matter-enabled devices
I mentioned Echo speakers because as part of its Matter announcements, Amazon confirmed that 30 Echo and eero devices are Matter enabled. But it’s not just devices under Amazon’s umbrella that the company is prioritizing. Now, along with the 30,000 Works with Alexa-badged devices on the market, more Matter-certified products can be optimized for the Alexa assistant (and the best Alexa skills.)
Amazon announced that it’s introducing the Works with Alexa certification program for Matter devices, opening the door for new products that have passed through Matter’s certifications process to also earn the Alexa seal of approval. I touched a bit on this, but the accessibility of this proposed process could be a game-changer for smaller smart home businesses.
What this means for you
Matter isn’t something a user can see, touch or hold in their hand. As an SDK program and connectivity protocol, Matter is highly technical by nature. This has made it a challenge to materialize how it’ll actually achieve interoperability, or break down the smart home space’s biggest barrier: having all your devices play nice together.
Amazon and Samsung have provided us with one of our first real examples of the flexibility Matter allows. As someone who has been skeptical of seeing true interoperability, this news makes me believe that Matter will indeed matter. I’m sure other smart home brands will similarly announce “official” joint efforts as made possible by Matter, but this will be to further make the protocol’s benefits more digestible. Ultimately, all Matter-certified devices will work together, regardless of the brands they come from.