After multiple delays, the Matter smart home standard has become a reality. The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) has released the Matter 1.0 specification and launched a product certification program. Device makers are now clear to adopt the technology, which aims to eliminate the compatibility and connection headaches that sometimes plague existing hardware. You can hopefully focus more on using your connected home than setting it up, to put it another way.
The tech relies on a combination of WiFi, Bluetooth LE and Thread's smart home-oriented mesh networking. Ideally, it offers a combination of fast, ubiquitous connections with a low-power, "self-healing" grid that becomes more reliable as it expands. Matter also promises tighter security, and will work with voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
It may take a while for Matter devices to reach stores in earnest. However, many major tech companies are already backing the standard, including Amazon, Apple, Google, LG, Samsung (via SmartThings) and Signify (Philips Hue). Some will be quicker than others. Google has already announced a new Nest WiFi Pro router and revamped Home app that will support the technology from the outset.
The 1.0 spec isn't guaranteed to solve all problems, even after several years of development. The CSA made clear this is an "initial release." Nonetheless, it may take some of the pain out of shopping for smart home products like light bulbs and doorbells. Instead of buying into a specific ecosystem, you can make a reasonable assumption that any Matter-capable device will work — you can concentrate on buying what's best for your needs.