If you are following smart home Technology closely, you may have heard about the material standard. Be sure to Check out our material guide More details, but in short, it’s an upcoming protocol that will allow extensions to work across major platforms. Right now, there’s an important question: is it worth buying smart home products now, or should you wait for Matter to officially roll out later this year?
The short answer is that it’s probably worth the wait. However, there are circumstances where it is perfectly fine to buy something today.
Communication Standards Alliance
Matter promises to be such a basic makeover that, in less than a year, you might regret owning any smart home accessory without it, let alone adding to the heap.
Anyone with mixed and identical platforms like Amazon Alexa And the Apple HomeKit He realizes how annoying it is when some accessories can only be controlled by one platform or the other. It means using separate apps and voice assistants and confusing friends and family who don’t understand why you exist HomePod Some of your smart plugs cannot turn on. The material promises to solve that, so it’s at least a very desirable feature. Think of it like smartphone shopping – you wouldn’t buy a Pixel 6 knowing that Pixel 7Features quite close.
Matter promises to make more smart home devices interoperable, and you don’t want to miss it.
If you can stand it, it may still be a good idea to ignore Matter, as the accessories will continue to work with their original ecosystems.
But what can be really painful is setting up the automation. People who are fully invested in Matter will be able to seamlessly link most or all of their extensions, eliminating the need to create separate scenes and routines, which are often made more complicated by trying to match tables and avoiding conflicts. You might end up jealous of simpler smart homes and stumble upon hundreds of dollars worth of equipment that you just can’t justify upgrading.
This brings us to another important incentive to defer: sure investment. While companies like Amazon and The Google Announced plans to upgrade certain products, there is always the possibility of complications. However, other vendors have been vague about upgrades, such as Apple and Nanoleaf, or are simply promising to ship new Matter products eventually — not necessarily in 2022.
An important incentive for procrastination is to invest in products that will definitely support it.
It’s also unclear how Matter will work on some types of accessories. While a variety of smart speakers It will support the standard, for example, not every speaker will double as a Matter hub for attaching other accessories, and it’s possible for these devices to have minimal functionality outside of native ecosystems. I will not depend on Apple spatial sound Format Going to Settings with Alexa or Google Assistant Mixed speakers, or vice versa. By waiting, you will know for sure how the products react in the real world.
Exception #1: Almost certain upgrades
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Realistically, any promises to upgrade by Amazon, Apple and Google will likely be fulfilled, not least because they are some of the Article founders. Even if you aren’t, they will still have the resources to pursue upgrades for as long as they are technically possible.
Things are less certain with smaller companies, but they are not suspicious as long as they have a proven track record and they have mentioned specific product lines. If the seller has been in the market for several years, you should feel reasonably confident buying whatever they call ready-made. However, it is still safer to wait.
If a company with a proven track record advertises significant support for a product, chances are you can buy it safely.
Here are some of the specific products identified for article upgrades:
This group is far from exhaustive, but unfortunately, there is no official compatibility list to reference yet.
Companies like Ecobee, Lifx, Nanoleaf and Sonos have hinted at upgrades, but we won’t count on anything until such support is imminent. Lifx — which was recently acquired by Feit Electric — is just beginning to examine which smart bulbs it can upgrade, while Nanoleaf is deliberately focusing on other improvements first. Sonos is just a supporter of the standard, although it would be strange not to make any leaps in the current speaker lineup.
Exception #2: Extension classes that won’t work in “issue” (yet)
Roger Vengas / Android Authority
As comprehensive as it is meant to be, there are some categories that will not be included at launch. Among them:
- Appliances (refrigerators, ovens, etc.)
- robotic vacuums
- Solar Panels
- security cameras
- Electric vehicle chargers
- household battery packs
cameras And the brooms They represent the biggest gaps, since they are very common in smart homes. The good news is that the Connectivity Standards Alliance, the union behind Matter, has said cameras will likely be added at Article update in the future, as specialty brands like Arlo, Eve, TP-Link and Wyze are already supportive of CSA. All above categories must be added at the end.
The command does not support cameras, vacuum cleaners, appliances, and other categories, so there’s no point in waiting for those now.
In the meantime, you don’t have to worry about Matter compatibility if you’re shopping for these types of accessories. The products will continue to work with the apps and assistance they were originally designed for, and it may be a while before we even hear an announcement of the first major mission update. Think 2023, or maybe later – cameras alone are complicated by issues like video codecs, cloud storage, and AI discovery.
Are you waiting for anything before buying more (or any) smart home accessories?
The issue of outstanding questions
One issue you might pose is why, if the issue is so big, we still have to see a torrent of advertisements, both about existing and new products. The main answer is that Matter is only finished now – it was originally supposed to launch in late 2020 under a different name, and has since been delayed three times. Some companies have built their products to tentative Matter specifications with some breathing room, but others have been understandably reluctant to commit without the final development kit.
Could it be more of a propaganda issue, making all this discussion pointless? It’s reasonable, but we don’t think so.
Another explanation is launch cycles. Matter’s launch in late 2022 coincides with expected smart home releases from Amazon, Apple and Google, as well as smaller companies. None of them will spoil unreleased products, and it makes sense to tweak the cycles to include “material” if appropriate — in fact, Amazon and Google have been pretty lethargic in shipping new smart home products for the past two years.
The final question to address is: Could the matter be a little more than hype, rendering all this discussion pointless? It’s reasonable, but we don’t think so. There is a lot of industry support behind it, and a lot of financial rewards if it succeeds. The market did not take off as expected precisely because the platforms are cracked, however, things like smart bulbs And the smart locks It may become a reality in homes rather than being new.