Matter, previously known as Project Chip, is a unified interface for Smart Home devices to improve interoperability between devices from different manufacturers and associated services like Google Assitant or Amazon Alexa. Matter can work over Thread, WiFi, Ethernet, BLE, etc… so it’s not limited by the physical layer.
So far, we mostly heard about development related to Matter, and Espressif has published a series of posts about Matter to be for instance used by their upcoming ESP32-H2 wireless MCU, but I had not seen many other solutions, not commercial products. This is going to change in 2022, as Belkin announced it’s working on “redesigned smart plugs and lighting solutions” with support for Matter over Thread” that start selling this summer. Separately, NXP also announced the IW612 tri-radio solution with Matter support and dual-band WiFI 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and 802.15.4 radios.
- Dedicated, independent CPUs and memories for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth/802.15.4
- Wi-Fi Key Features
- 1×1 2.4/5 GHz, up to 80 MHz channel
- UL/DL MU-MIMO and OFDMA
- Target Wake Time, Dual Carrier Modulation, Extended Range
- 802.11az accurate ranging
- WPA3 security
- SDIO 3.0 host interface
- Bluetooth Key Features
- 802.15.4 Key Features
- IEEE 802.15.4-2015 compliant supporting Thread and Zigbee in 2.4 GHz band
- Integrated high power PA up to +20 dBm transmit power
- Shared transmitter and antenna pin with Bluetooth
- Simultaneous receive with Bluetooth
- SPI host interface
- Single and dual antenna configurations
- Power management system supporting deep-sleep low-power mode
I understand the goal here is to provide a chip for all-in-one gateways used in Smart Home that works with as many products as possible. NXP took two approaches with the tri-radio SoC, the first in the market according to the company, enabling connectivity over WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Thread, plus compatibility with the Matter connectivity protocol aims to improve interoperability between Smart Home products from different vendors.
In other news unrelated to the IW612 announcement, 2022 will be the year when Matter will start to matter with the launch of commercial products. Through a press release, Belkin announced they were redesigning Wemo Smart Plug, Wemo Smart Light Switch, and Wemo Smart Dimmer, three of their most popular products with support for Matter over Thread.
As the company explains, “Matter is a new way for smart home devices to communicate so that any smart accessory regardless of manufacturer will be able to integrate into the home system with ease. Thread offers a separate network just for those connected items resulting in faster and more reliable connectivity”. With backing from major companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung SmartThings, the new standard is likely to take off. The main is simplicity, but other benefits will include rapid response times, self-extending mesh for better range and connectivity, no additional app download, no sign up/registration, no passwords, and no data collection.
I’d expect other companies to launch Matter compatible products around the same time frame, i.e H2 2022.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.