The CHIP project receives a new name, as does the Zigbee Alliance – Stacey on IoT

As it prepares for the launch of a smart home interoperability standard, the Zigbee Alliance has changed its name to Alliance for Connectivity Standards (CSA) and expand its scope. At the same time, the working group within ASC formerly known as Project Connected Home over IP adopted Material as its official mark. The CSA has also declared that the material specification is final and ready for testing.

The material is the new hope of consumer electronics companies to try to solve the problem of smart home interoperability. In December 2019, Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung and others said they would work on creating an application layer standard so that home devices can communicate. This is and was a big deal as the many ecosystems and walled gardens associated with smart home devices had frustrated consumers and developers alike.

The Matter logo on a smart bulb. Image courtesy of the Connectivity Standards Association.

With Matter, consumers won’t have to research whether their Nest cameras will work with their Schlage locks or whether their HomeKit-enabled sensors will also work with Alexa, for example. Developers won’t have to go through multiple ecosystems and integrations. Initially this will only work on a limited number of devices, but these devices include lights, shades, HVAC, televisions, access controls, security and safety products, points of access, smart home controllers and bridges.

Matter will create an IP-based interoperability layer between devices at the application layer. Most smart home devices can interact at the network layer level (this is where protocols like Z-wave or Zigbee come in). But network compatibility doesn’t mean that a bulb can communicate with any light switch or that a safety sensor can communicate with a different platform. Matter will enable a standardized data model for devices so that a certified product can communicate what it is and what it can do to other certified products.

The Matter logo is located at the bottom of the screen. Image courtesy of ASC.

And it makes sense that the Connectivity Standards Alliance would get a new name as the organization’s mission expands. The organization will continue to support the Zigbee standard, but it is likely that most of the organization’s work in the future will focus on the material, as it has a much larger market and greater potential. Tobin Richardson, ASC president and CEO, said the organization will also expand its standardization work to three or four additional connectivity protocols for the smart home. He declined to say what these other standards might cover.

The CSA will also add lobbying to its mission and has decided to take a global perspective on issues such as privacy and data security. To this end, he will work with the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Connected World to contribute to a global debate on the role of smart home technology. Richardson also spoke on sustainability and connected devices, as well as security, equity and inclusion.

The CSA is also focusing on releasing as much open-source code as possible, which to me seems somewhat incongruous with the fact that in order to see or vote on the developing standard, companies had to pay to join the CSA and the group. Matter work. . However, the code is fully available on Github, and anyone will be able to view and download it for their apps and devices.

The standard also includes a QR code for procurement.  Image courtesy of ASC. Richardson also said certification is now full, which means we shouldn’t expect any significant changes until the fall release. This may undergo adjustments as device testing begins and manufacturers spot issues, but we should still be on our way to seeing a few Matter certified products before the end of this year, along with more. expected in 2022.

We’ve also received some clarity on how Matter will work with multi-ecosystem households, such as those that might have a HomeKit user and an Amazon Alexa device. A video posted as part of the rebranding promises that with the Matter standard, devices from multiple ecosystems will work together without the owner having to manually add devices to multiple ecosystems. This is great news for people like me who have a plethora of devices from many vendors, but I want to wait and pass judgment until I have tried it in real life.

The narrator of the video calls out the Multi-Admin feature and promises that “users can connect devices to multiple apps and multiple ecosystems locally, securely and simultaneously.” It also looks like users will be able to grant device control at an individual level as well, which means connecting a Nest Account to an Amazon Echo may not require adding all of the devices associated with that Nest Account. This could make it easier to install some sort of controller in a guest bedroom that allows your guest to have access to some controls in the house, but not all.

Additionally, Matter officials reiterated their commitment to using the standard for apartments and MDUs to make it easier for tenants to bring their own platforms and devices into a new home, without worrying about infrastructure. existing. As long as the existing infrastructure is Matter compliant, tenants can bring their own Matter compatible devices.

So stay tuned as Project Connected Home over IP becomes matter and the Connectivity Standards Alliance adopts more smart home standards.

Update: In a panel of representatives from several smart home device companies, we learned a bit more about how they plan to implement Matter and what users can expect. For example, George Yianni, chief technology officer at Signify, says existing nine-year-old Hue bulbs will be updated to work with Matter, although you may need to purchase a new hub. He says we should expect compatible Hue products at the end of this year. Chris DeCenzo of Amazon mentioned that a Matter-enabled TV could allow consumers to stream their content to devices regardless of manufacturer.


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