Matter launched as a new Apple-backed smart home communications standard

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The Connectivity Standards Alliance, sponsored by Apple and other tech giants, has unveiled Matter, a rebranding of Project CHIP that has recently been ratified as a standard for smart home device connectivity.

Previously known as "Project Connected Home over IP," Matter is a standard that aims to improve the integration between Internet of Things devices, rather than replace technologies and platforms such as Apple's HomeKit. By making sure devices under Matter work with each other, consumers are less likely to have trouble getting the hardware to communicate with other items in their existing smart home setup.

Matter is described by the Connectivity Standards Alliance as being built on a unified IP-based connectivity protocol. The royalty-free connectivity standard has been made available to view on GitHub, reports CNET, and has been ratified as a standard for at least two weeks.

By being Matter compatible, device vendors will find it is easier to make their products compatible with smart home and virtual assistant services, including Apple's HomeKit and Siri, Amazon's Alexa platform, and Google Assistant, among others. The first specification release includes support for existing network technologies, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Thread, and Bluetooth LE.

Previously known as the Zigbee Alliance, the Connectivity Standards Alliance has also introduced a new logo that device producers can apply to their products and packaging. This should make it easier for consumers to discover hardware that will communicate with each other.

The setup process should also be simpler, consisting of a code to connect devices together or to a smart home framework.

To device producers, Matter may be attractive due to being able to use a single SKU, lowering the cost of development and operation.

"We create marks of trust, and Matter is an important milestone for users in our long history of delivering unifying, secure, reliable and trustworthy standards for the IoT," said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance. "I'm very excited to unveil Matter as a foundational element in delivering a truly connected world."

It is anticipated the first devices to complete certification with Matter will become available to purchase in late 2021.

However, while Apple is a member of the Connectivity Standards Alliance, and has executives on its board of directors, it isn't listed as one of the companies set to be an early adopter of Matter. That list includes Amazon, Comcast, Eve, Google, Huawei, Nanoleaf, SmartThings, and Texas Instruments, among others.

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