Matter is a protocol that allows devices on different smart-home systems to talk to each other. That means your smart light, your smart plug and your door lock can all communicate with each other over the same home network without needing to use their respective apps or connect to a cloud service back-end. It’s a fairly significant development for the smart-home industry, and one backed by tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Google.

The big question is whether your existing smart-home gear can come on board the Matter party. That will largely depend on what brands do to pursue Matter certification for their existing products. If a company, like Philips Hue or Aqara, has a large portfolio of existing products, it may choose to upgrade them all with Matter compatibility via an over-the-air firmware update. It’s also possible that some companies, like GE Lighting and a wood-centric manufacturer called Mui Labs, will release a Matter bridge or hub to bring legacy devices into the fold.

You won’t need a new Matter hub to get started, since the tech is baked into flagship smart speakers, routers and digital displays. Your home’s Matter controller will be responsible for onboarding devices to the network, managing communications and facilitating remote access (when enabled). You can expect more of these products from the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung SmartThings in 2023. It’s also worth noting that your Matter controller won’t be able to manage advanced features, like dynamic lighting effects or shared access codes for door locks. matter residences

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