Matter 1.0 arrives, at last – with test labs, test tools, and mission to make IoT easier
The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) this week confirmed the release of the 1.0 launch-version of the new Matter connectivity specification for interoperability of IoT products, mainly in the smart home environment. This initial release will support various smart home products, including lighting and electrical, heating and ventilation (HVAC) controls, window coverings and shades, safety and security sensors, door locks, and sundry media devices.
The new layer-six Matter application protocol uses Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Thread for layer-two transport, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for device commissioning. For IoT devices, Wi-Fi is the default transport technology for high bandwidth applications, and Thread, an IPv6-based mesh protocol, is for low bandwidth applications, including battery-powered IoT units like simple actuators like smart plugs or light bulbs.
CSA members with an interest to create a harmonised IoT connectivity smart-home environment now number 550 tech companies, notably including major consumer brands like Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, Samsung, and Signify, plus prominent IoT hardware familiars like Nordic Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments. The likes of IKEA, LG, Tesla are also involved.
Their motivation is to bring a “next generation of interoperable products that work across brands and platforms to market with greater privacy, security, and simplicity for consumers” – and to, thereby, make the IoT ‘pie’ bigger, and take bigger slices of it. The CSA is looking to develop Matter for the enterprise and industrial markets, as well. The 1.0 release is attended by a new certification program, plus the establishment of test labs and release of test tools.
Matter was originally scheduled for release in June, but has been bogged down by development issues. Eight new test labs are open now, and will also certify existing IoT products that are updated to support Matter, plus Wi-Fi and Thread functions. The Wi-Fi Alliance and Thread Group have been engaged in the launch, also. The CSA has released an open-source reference design software development kit (SDK) as well.
It reckons the whole development and testing package is “complete” for developers to bring new Matter-specified IoT products to market. A statement said also: “Matter is striking new ground with security policies and processes using distributed ledger technology and Public Key Infrastructure to validate device certification and provenance. This will help to ensure users are connecting authentic, certified, and up-to-date devices to their homes and networks.”
Tobin Richardson, president and chief executive of the CSA, said: “What started as a mission to unravel the complexities of connectivity has resulted in Matter, a single, global IP-based protocol that will fundamentally change IoT. This release is the first step on a journey our community and the industry are taking to make the IoT more simple, secure, and valuable no matter who you are or where you live.”
Vividh Siddha, president at Thread Group, said: “Matter and Thread resolve interoperability and connectivity issues in smart homes so manufacturers can focus on other value-adding innovations. Thread creates a self-healing mesh network which grows more responsive and reliable with each added device, and its ultra-lower power architecture extends battery life. Combined, Thread with Matter is a powerful choice for product companies and… consumers.”
Edgar Figueroa, president and chief executive at the Wi-Fi Alliance, said: “Matter leverages Wi-Fi’s sophisticated network efficiency, global pervasiveness of more than 18 billion devices in use today, and robust standards-based foundation to help deliver the IoT vision. Together, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED and Matter bring simple and secure interoperability for a better user experience with a wide range of IoT devices.”