‘Matter’ smart home standard delayed until 2022

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Matter is a new interoperable homer automation standard back by Apple, Amazon, Google and m ore.
Matter is going to… matter to fans of home automation.
Photo: Connectivity Standards Alliance

The rollout of Matter, the standard expected to help smart-home systems like Apple HomeKit, Google Nest and Amazon Alexa Smart Home use devices in common, is delayed again.

After previous holdups, interested parties expected Matter-certified hardware to start rolling out by the end of 2021. But now that will more likely get going in the first half of 2022, Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) CEO Tobin Richardson said in a blog post.

Third delay’s the charm?

This marks the third delay for the project. The projected launch date moved from late 2020, originally, to sometime in 2021, then to the end of 2021, and now to sometime in 2022.

CSA’s Matter Working Group must still finish creating the project’s open-source software development kit (SDK). On top of that, it must finish setting up a certification program and testing tools.

Crucially, all of those items will enable developers to get current and newly developed hardware labeled as Matter-compliant.

Richardson indicated that several factors play into the delay. They include the addition of more companies to the Matter Working Group (now more than 200). Issues around the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic came up. And, of course, assorted difficulties associated with developing a complex, multi-device connectivity standard of this sort arose.

Come a long way since 2019

Matter’s development started in 2019, when Apple, Amazon, Comcast, Google and others agreed to create what was initially called Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP). In May 2021 they changed the name to Matter. The goal, however, remained: to enable devices from multiple brands to work natively together.

At its core, Matter is an IP-based connectivity protocol. It is available royalty-free. It will support Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Thread and Bluetooth Low Energy.

Some Matter updates might come out in the early days of 2022 for existing products, such as Philips Hue smart lights and those of other companies that have pledged full support for the standard. But we may not see new certified products until the second half of 2022, some smart-home experts say.