While many smarthome owners have interacted with Zigbee technology, not everyone has heard of it. For those who have missed out on the Zigbee Alliance, the organization has been dedicated to creating a communication standard that allows unrelated brands of smart devices to speak to and work with one another over a special wireless technology. This alliance has produced unique and interesting products from big brands, including Philips Hue. The technology is so popular that it is even running on Mars, with the popular Ingenuity helicopter communicating with Perseverance over Zigbee.
This week, the Alliance announced a number of name changes to coincide with a focus change. No longer the Zigbee Alliance, the organization is now the Connectivity Standards Alliance. This change is because the organization is looking outside of just the Zigbee standard of wireless communication and looking for a way to allow communication between different Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
The project that was designed to connect different technologies was once known as Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP). But, with the rebrand of the Alliance comes the rebrand of the project, now known as Matter. This newly minted project has a lot of support, including from Amazon, Apple, Google, IKEA< Signify, SmartThings, and a lot more. Importantly, there is also support from NXP, which manufacturers a lot of internals for IoT products. Unfortunately, there are some notably absent brands, but as the group is just getting started, perhaps they will join in the future.
Obviously, the goal of Matter is to make your smart home choices wider, while making sure that things will work together from outside ecosystems. So, if you already have a number of Zigbee products but want to add in a couple of Wi-Fi-powered products, and one using Samsung's SmartThings Hub, one day you will be able to connect them all together using Matter. The organization says,
The Matter mark will serve as a seal of approval, taking the guesswork out of the purchasing process and allowing businesses and consumers alike to choose from a wider array of brands to create secure and connected homes and buildings.
This promises to make the disconnected smarthome a more unified place.