It’s been a while since we talked about Matter and how it works, but the basics haven’t changed. At a high level, Matter is an open-source standard that enables smart devices to all talk to one another, regardless of their company of origin. It works over your local network rather than relying on the cloud to ping other devices about what to do next. It’s more reliable than prior methods smart home devices would use to get online.
That said, the old way of connecting things isn’t going away. The Zigbee antenna and Z-Wave protocol are still a part of many ecosystems—the Philips Hue bridge, for instance, depends on Zigbee for its smart bulbs.
Why are Apple, Google, Samsung, and Amazon all in on Matter? Because they all hope it will make the smart home seem less frustrating so that more people will buy devices and use their assistants. Managing a smart home is not an expert-level hobby, but it requires time and periodic check-ins to ensure all the different parts of your smart home are operating as intended.
While it’s likely that Matter will make bringing devices into the smart home easier for first-timers, since it relies on Bluetooth and support is already embedded into the latest Android and iOS updates, the jury is out on whether it will keep things running smoothly for the long term. After all, this is only the first generation.