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Home Automation Standard Gets an Official Name

In late 2019, Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance announced that they were teaming up to create a new interoperability standard for home automation (see “Apple Teams Up with Rivals to Create Open Smart Home Standard,” 18 December 2019). Stacey Higginbotham reports that the standard now has an official name: Matter. The Zigbee Alliance also has a new name: the Connectivity Standards Alliance.

Matter summary

Matter sounds promising. The partner list includes just about every big company you can think of related to home automation and some you didn’t realize were in that space, like grocery store chain Kroger. The standard is open source, and many of your existing devices will work with it when it’s released later in the year, including Philips Hue bulbs when paired with a hub running the latest software. In theory, you should end up being able to control one of Google’s Nest thermostats with HomeKit or operate a HomeKit-only Eve device with Amazon Alexa.

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Comments About Home Automation Standard Gets an Official Name

Notable Replies

  1. “In theory, you should end up being able to control a Nest thermostat (owned by Google)…”
    An interesting development but I won’t hold my breath for theory being turned into practice!

  2. So “The standard is open source” - does this mean I can build something with an Arduino that can be controlled by HomeKit (or whatever), and/or build something with an Arduino that can control other devices?

  3. Yeah, you can do that today. Apple opened up HomeKit to tinkerers a few years ago. I actually use an open-source system called Home Assistant to manage my home automations. It can be set up to act as a HomeKit-recognized hub, so you can add a non-HomeKit device to Home Assistant, which is then picked up by HomeKit, and vice versa.

    (So yeah, Home Assistant already does what this standard promises to do. I don’t discuss it much in TidBITS because it’s super technical and even I don’t have my head wrapped around it yet.)

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