MATTER: LOTS OF PROMISES, FEW PRODUCTS, AND AN UNDERWHELMING UPDATE
Six months ago, the Matter smart home interoperability standard was launched with much fanfare. It promised consumers a seamless experience by offering a common language for connected devices to communicate with each other without relying on the cloud, allowing users to control their devices from any Matter-compatible platform. Unfortunately, since its launch, Matter has been plagued with delays in product updates, a lack of new products, poor support from major platforms, and a confusing user experience. The recent release of Matter 1.1 has only added to these issues.
Matter 1.1 is primarily a bug-fix update, with no new device types, such as robot vacuums, appliances, garage door controllers, or cameras, being added. The release promises “new user experiences,” but these are limited to fixing a common problem where devices appear offline in platform apps, despite still being connected. The update is expected to make it easier for developers to build and certify products, with the CSA opening its Matter testing center in Portland, Oregon, to help with certification. Developers can already download the Matter 1.1 specification and SDK.
The multi-admin control remains a significant concern, and Matter 1.1 fails to address the problem. Matter is designed to be compatible with multiple platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home. However, in reality, it’s challenging to get a device paired with one platform to work on another. The CSA needs to take responsibility for this problem, rather than leaving it to each platform to handle, by creating a standardized process for all platforms.
The governing body’s twice-yearly updates promise new features and device types with future versions of Matter. But despite these promises, we have yet to see massive improvements in the user experience or the number of products available. Only 1,135 products have been certified by the CSA, and not all are yet available to buy.
Matter has a lot of potential, offering fast, local control, better security, and reliability. However, these benefits will be lost if the current user experience doesn’t improve. Consumers need more devices to choose from, better support from major platforms, and a less confusing process to add devices across multiple platforms. Matter’s launch was exciting, but it’s clear that more needs to be done.