Four things you should know about Matter

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

Here are some key facts that embedded design engineers should review before immersing themselves into the brand-new world of Matter standard.

The premise of the smart home is on the cusp of a rapid expansion with the adoption of the Matter standard that ensures interoperability and backward compatibility of connected devices from different manufacturers running various operating systems.

ABI Research forecasts that, by 2030, more than 1.5 billion Matter-certified devices will ship annually. Consumer robotics, smart appliances, and other emerging smart home device types are also expected to be drawn into the smart-home ecosystem over that period.

Figure 1 The Matter-enabled solutions streamline the creation of interoperable IoT devices in smart homes and buildings. Source: Texas Instruments

Below are some key facts that embedded design engineers should review before immersing themselves into the brand-new Matter world.

  1. What is Matter

Matter, a royalty-free connectivity protocol developed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formerly the Zigbee Alliance, runs on Thread and Wi-Fi network layers and uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for commissioning. It enables devices from different manufacturers to communicate while overcoming compatibility challenges caused by otherwise fragmented Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems.

  1. Matter 1.0 specification

The CSA unveiled the Matter 1.0 specification in the fall of 2022 to offer a unified standard for smart home applications such as smart locks, lighting, thermostats, automated security systems, and sensors. It aims to cater to a wide span of IoT devices, ranging from battery-operated devices like sensors and actuators to complex gateways, and reshape the future of IoT in the smart home.

“It’s the first industry standard that enables multi-device, multi-vendor, and multi-ecosystem interoperability for smart home products from major consumer electronics manufacturers,” says Bill Curtis, analyst in residence for IoT and edge at Moor Insights & Strategy. “Matter removes barriers to deploying IoT at scale while creating new opportunities for product innovation.”

  1. Energy efficiency is a major focus

Though convenience and automation are perceived to be the major drivers for Matter devices in smart homes and buildings, energy-efficient solutions to solve social and environmental challenges embody a key Matter premise. Take the case of Grundfos, the Danish supplier of pump and water technology solutions, which has joined hands with Texas Instruments to create low-power, Matter-enabled radio solutions for reducing energy consumption in HVAC systems.

Residential buildings make up 29% of worldwide electricity consumption, and here, space cooling, heating and refrigeration are among the largest power consumers. To reduce energy consumption, smart home networks can identify people’s personal temperature preferences in different situations to adapt them automatically. Next, sensor-based controls can turn off lights, heating, and air conditioning when no one is in the room. Smart home networks can also start washing machines or car charging when a renewable energy supply is available.

  1. MCU suppliers prominent in Matter ecosystem

Microcontroller and wireless system-on-chip (SoC) suppliers are at the forefront of the drive to create a new era of interoperability for Mater-based smart home devices operating in connected IoT environments. TI, for instance, has unveiled Matter-enabled software development kits for its SimpleLink wireless MCUs serving Wi-Fi and Thread designs.

Infineon’s Matter solutions include PSoC 6x ULP MCU and PSoC 62S2 Wi-Fi BT Pioneer Kit that helps developers create ultra-low-power Matter-over-Wi-Fi solutions. Then there are AIROC wireless SoCs, Matter-compatible OPTIGA security solutions, and ModusToolBox development platform for IoT designs.

Silicon Labs, which claims to be one of the largest code contributors to the Matter standard platform, has released a 2.4 GHz wireless MG24 SoC with Bluetooth and multiple-protocol operations. It supports Matter over Thread as a single-chip solution while enabling BLE commissioning of new devices using the same chip. Silicon Labs is also offering the Unify SDK software development platform that provides the environment and the tools needed for developers to bridge Matter to other IoT platforms, including Wi-Fi, Zigbee and Z-Wave.

Figure 2 The Matter ecosystem facilitates a streamlined approach for smart home IoT applications over Wi-Fi and Thread. Source: Silicon Labs

The release of the Matter 1.0 specification has been followed by a stream of announcements from MCU and wireless chip suppliers. The availability of Matter-based hardware and software solutions and Matter 1.0-certified products should be good news for the smart home market, which the fragmentation of IoT solutions has hampered until now.


This article was originally published on EDN.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.


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