By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Later this year the new ‘matter’ standard for connecting IoT devices is expected to be finalised – and if you’re working on smart home solutions of any kind, you have good reason to be excited about what the new protocol will bring to Wi-Fi (and other connectivity technologies). Qorvo says ‘matter’ is likely to result in a new and even bigger wave of innovative and easy-to-use smart home products.
There is no denying that the world of smart home IoT has always been technically fragmented into myriads of standards and connectivity protocols – and that this unfortunate fact has arguably kept the smart home IoT market segment from evolving as fast as the Wi-Fi industry would like.
All of this is about to change with the advent of the new ‘matter’ standard: Matter is a new protocol with the ambitious goal of making IoT devices and APs from a variety of vendors interoperable and controllable from a common API, whether they run over Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Bluetooth, or thread.
Qorvo – a market leader in Connectivity and Sensors, including Wi-Fi FEMs/Filters and BLE/Zigbee/Thread/UWB solutions – says it is reasonable to expect that the adoption of matter will result in a new and greater wave of smart home IoT products as well as wider global adoption of smart home technology. But what exactly is matter and how does it work?
Qorvo explains it like this: “Matter is a universal software layer, a foundation for connected things and their application, built upon and compatible with various protocols. By using standard IP as the communication protocol matter builds upon, it acts as the universal IoT standard compatible with various protocols deployed in our homes today,” Qorvo says.
The idea is that matter will allow for example a gateway device (such as a Wi-Fi AP) to communicate with any end node (meaning any IoT device) regardless of preferred connectivity technology and vendor. Qorvo’s Tony Testa, Director of Marketing, Wireless Connectivity Business Unit, says that matter greatly cuts down on smart home IoT software development complexity and costs – and does so intelligently.
“What matter brings is a new IoT protocol—but it’s new in a smart way. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It’s taking technology currently available and combining it to create a universal IoT standard. With matter, all ecosystem manufacturers can make it easier for product developers to innovate because the interoperability function is taken care of,” Tony Testa says.
The matter standardisation and certification work is being done by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) and thus far matter has garnered the support of many of the IoT industry’s giants, including Amazon, Google, Apple, even IKEA, and of course also Qorvo. The CSA is even adopting an open source framework making the code available to anyone which means “every industry sector can work from the same database and software, which means interoperability is almost guaranteed by design,” Qorvo says.