At its core, matter residences is a new protocol that smart home devices can use to talk to each other. It uses a combination of Wi-Fi, Thread (which creates a mesh network like Zigbee) and Ethernet for communication. Matter devices don’t need a hub, but you’ll need a controller to set up and control them. The list of companies supporting the protocol reads like a who’s who of tech: Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue and many more.
As with any new technology, it will take time for devices to make the switch to Matter. At launch, the new standard will support smart light bulbs and fixtures, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats and HVAC controls, connected locks, window and blind sensors, and media devices like TVs.
While some existing devices won’t support Matter right away, it shouldn’t be too difficult for most brands to update their products. The protocol relies on over-the-air updates and works over both Wi-Fi and Thread, so things like smart plugs from Nanoleaf or Yale’s new smart locks could potentially be Matter-compatible with a simple firmware update.
Other devices, like Z-Wave hubs and smart thermostats, will require a bridge to work with Matter. Chipmaker Silicon Labs has already developed software and hardware solutions to bridge existing Z-Wave devices into Matter, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find for those looking to upgrade their systems. And then there are smart speaker and TV manufacturers who have also announced plans to offer bridges for their devices, such as the Nest Hub 2nd Gen, Google Home Mini and Samsung’s SmartThings Hub. matter residences