In the smarthome world, the biggest issue is compatibility. Zigbee was one of the early projects to bring together different manufacturers of smarthome products. The next generation of Zigbee is matter by the renamed Connectivity Standards Alliance (formerly Zigbee Alliance). The new standard was intended to come to market in 2021, but software delays are causing the standard to launch in 2022 at the earliest. The delay is caused by the software development kit, which would allow developers to create software, including mobile apps for controlling your devices, such as lights, outlets, and cameras.
For a wireless standard to be effective, both for consumers and manufacturers, all of the components have to be in place and working near perfect. Because of this, it is better for the Alliance to delay the release of the standard to the public, rather than launching half-cocked like the infamous Apple Maps disaster. A partial launch like this could ruin the standard's reputation for years, and it may never recover.
The matter standard is an extension (or replacement) of the Zigbee wireless protocol that was created in 2003 and will stay available until matter becomes publicly available. It takes time to develop new technology and products, which explains why it has taken a long time for matter to be ready for prime time.
Offering cheaper solutions than Wi-Fi, matter is developed by an alliance rather than one single company or institution and is expected to become the cost-effective, easy to install solution for your smarthome needs. The standard has been in production since 2007, but the conditions of the market, plus the availability of spectrum, has made now the perfect time to launch.
As more people buy smarthome products, interoperability has become key. Few things are more annoying than having to have one app to turn on your lights and another to check your front door. Even worse is when the app for your smart outlet doesn't support Alexa, but your light bulbs do. matter is solving this problem, and bringing on bigger partners, such as Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Even better, matter devices are intended to be backward compatible with Zigbee, so all of your previous products should fit into the updated ecosystem without any hassle. Planned obsolescence is an unfortunate commonality in smarthome products, so it's nice to see the Alliance looking out for existing product owners.
matter will make it easier to control everything in your home - from the heating and lighting to appliances such as vacuum cleaners and even door locks. You'll be able to run everything from a single app on your phone or tablet, or through voice recognition systems that eliminate the need for fiddly buttons when controlling lights or turning on music.
And matter doesn't just make life easier for consumers, but it also makes life easier for companies and manufacturers, since matter is inexpensive to produce and easy to use - even for smaller, more local businesses such as plumbers, electricians or gardeners who can install their own matter equipment rather than relying on larger companies.