How many times in history can you think of a room full of competitive technology companies who came together in the same room with one common goal: working together for the better, not competing? Imagine a giant lumber giant in your company.
By joining the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), a collaborative group of more than 550 companies working together for this purpose, along with other industry giants such as Google, Samsung, and Apple, Amazon will: We are committed to the future of the smart home.
The result is Matter, a new standard officially unveiled at an event in Amsterdam on November 3rd. Matter 1.0 delivers a level of interoperability you’ve only ever dreamed of, and is the true starting point for smart homes to become truly smart. .
It’s the beginning of a long road. Only certain product categories are compatible with Matter at this time. These include lighting and electrical, HVAC controls, controllers and bridges, televisions and media devices, blinds and shades, security sensors, and door locks. CSA plans to expand into more product areas in 2023, including security cameras and robotic vacuum cleaners.
Of course, Amazon has only grown in smart home excellence, and its recent acquisition of iRobot makes its portfolio even stronger. Currently, Alexa supports more than 30,000 of his devices in the Works with Alexa program, and that number will grow significantly with the launch of Matter.
Not a leap, but a step in the right direction
In Amazon’s keynote at the event, Amazon’s Director of Smart Home and Health, Marja Koopmans, explained the company’s plans for Matter and why it’s important to them. Amazon plans to provide Matter support for “well over 100 million devices” across its 30 Echo and eero devices, which Koopmans called “a highly unprecedented undertaking.”
Later, in a conversation with Chris Decenzo, technical lead for Matter at Amazon and chair of the Matter steering committee, he said customers have more choices when it comes to what works interoperably in their smart homes. While it is a significant opportunity to have, Matter said it should. It also shortens the time to market for new products.
“Device makers can build their products, and there are many different protocols, so they don’t have to invest in six different versions of the product or six types of hardware. It’s less work for developers.”
In terms of compatibility, Koopmans announced in December a gradual approach that would bring compatibility to Alexa and several generations of Eero routers and Echo smart speakers, but this was limited to plugs, switches, light bulbs and Android only. increase. This will currently support Wi-Fi only connectivity with Matter compatible devices. Additional Echo and eero devices and device types are on the roadmap for early 2023.
So where are users left on iOS and the Thread network? Support for these is coming early next year, and for good reason. I spoke with Decenzo for more information.
slow and steady win the race
One of the key conversation points of the entire event is that Matter is a journey and we are only at the beginning of that journey. Slowly.
First, we tackled the Wi-Fi versus Thread discussion and explained why Amazon stuck with Wi-Fi in the first phase of its rollout. The process of reconciling credentials and APIs is time consuming, and integrating all the different companies hosting Thread Border Routers is not trivial. Decenzo uses the example that rushing Thread compatibility can lead to four Thread networks instead of one, leading to “absolute disaster for customers.” “So we decided to wait the thread until the industry is well integrated,” he explains.
The story is slightly different for Android and iOS. Some of them are simply timing issues. Only recently did Apple announce his iOS requirements for Matter. This includes new APIs that just appeared in Xcode 14.
Decenzo says Amazon is happy with its progress, but customer centricity remains important. “Customers don’t have to wait long, but unfortunately we can’t be proactive about that.”
Analytics: No Risk, No Reward
Many of the founders attending CSA’s Matter launch event have serious interest in this new standard, but Amazon is in an interesting position.
It’s a little surprising that Amazon, who wears multiple hats, including vendors and manufacturers, is at the forefront and center of this collaborative approach. After all, this kind of standard moves the consumer out of his Amazon Alexa ecosystem, creates more competition, and may even create risk in the development of new smart products. d Expect more dangerous adversity.
But when I spoke with Decenzo, the focus was on their stake in Matter.
For Decenzo, who sits between different areas of the business that may have conflicting interests over Matter, it was a boon for Amazon to have a voice as both a device maker and a service provider. Confidence with other members of the standard.”
On the one hand, Amazon understood the priorities of device manufacturers. “Many device makers want to differentiate themselves. They don’t want to have a middleman who can get them closer or dictate what features they can have.”
However, as a service provider, Decenzo explains that Amazon is accustomed to the benefits of standardization, especially when it comes to security and privacy. He believes this is why Amazon was able to “help try to find the right balance.”
But what about the risks posed by increased competition? Overall, Decenzo says the expansion of smart homes and product availability has had more to offer. “Sometimes you have to look around the corner, find opportunities for standardization, and make sure your customers love the experience they get from your product. You will love
“We’ve always had an interest in open standards, and that’s why we’ve embraced open standards. I am delighted.”
The cautious approach taken by Amazon and the hundreds of companies that make up the CSA, now and in the future, speaks to a very unique movement in the technology space. I hope other industries can learn something. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for Matter 1.0 until 2023 when it hits the headlines.