Connectivity is a critical part of the IoT (Internet of Things) to function effectively or even to exist. IoT-enabled devices have become a part of our lives and routines and are going far beyond. These devices can interact and communicate over the internet and be monitored and controlled remotely.
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What is Matter 1.0.0?
Matter was formerly Project Chip, managed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). It is a new connectivity standard or a networking protocol. The primary goal of Matter is to enable interoperability between different devices and platforms and is a huge step forward as it will make it easier for a manufacturer to create connected devices without worrying about what protocol or standards the other devices use. Furthermore, Matter will ensure flawless communication even if different devices run on different protocols. For instance, Matter-compliant products will ensure that appliances or apps built on Amazon, Google Home, Apple Home, or any other platform will work seamlessly with each other.
Matter uses the Thread Networking Protocol based on the existing Zigbee 3.0 standard. It is an application layer on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ethernet technology.
All Matter-compliant devices will work together irrespective of which brand makes them. Here are some of the key traits:
This standard also provides a certification program to IoT device manufacturers to ensure that their products meet the requirements for interoperability and ease of use on different devices and platforms. In addition, it will help the users to choose the models based on their features and price rather than their compatibility with other systems.
Whenever a user buys IoT devices, brings them home, and finds out some have set up complications and some do not work with already installed widgets. To overcome this issue, Matter has defined some commands to control Matter devices. This way, users do not have to learn new interfaces. Instead, they can control these devices using their voice or a mobile app.
One insecure device in the intelligent home system is enough for a cyber-attack. Unfortunately, today’s smart homes are still complicated, incompatible, and not appropriately secure. Matter uses layered security with authentication and cutting-edge security measures, so when a customer purchases a matter device will not have to worry about security concerns.
To avoid drawbacks, device manufacturers can focus more on innovation and accessibility. It means that more focus is on creating solutions that meet customer needs. In addition, creating devices that work and connect well with each other without any complications or unnecessary extra steps will benefit by making more options.
Now that we have briefly discussed what the Matter standard is and its key characteristics, let’s delve into the technical aspect and explore the data model of Matter. The data model plays a crucial role in representing the essential components of a typical Matter node.
Matter Data Model and Devices Communication?
It is crucial to understand the Matter Data Model in order to grasp how devices interact within a Matter network. The system primarily consists of nodes, endpoints, clusters, attributes, commands, and events. These components collectively form the foundation of the Matter network and its operations.
Your device’s nodes are unique and accessible resources. Typically, your device will have only one node unless it is a smartphone or tablet, in which case it may have multiple nodes. Interactions within the Matter framework primarily take place between nodes, forming the majority of Matter’s overall interactions.
Endpoints are grouped together within nodes. Each endpoint encompasses a specific set of functionalities. For example, an endpoint could be associated with a lighting feature, controlling its operations and settings.
A node can encompass one or more clusters within an endpoint. These clusters represent group-specific features, such as the on/off cluster of a light switch. It is possible to have multiple endpoints within a node, each serving different purposes or functionalities.
ATTRIBUTES, COMMANDS, AND EVENTS
This hierarchy’s last level is made up of Attributes, Commands, and Events.
The states of a node are represented by its attributes. For example, if the node represents a light, its attributes may indicate whether it is on or off, or provide the current level if the light is dimmable. Attributes can also include information like the software version currently utilized by the device. Various data types, such as uint8, strings, and arrays, can be declared as attributes within the Matter framework.
On a device, commands are utilized to perform specific activities. For instance, a “lock door” command within a Door Lock cluster serves as a verb-like instruction to lock the door. Commands enable devices to execute particular actions based on the functionality they provide.
Events can be regarded as a record of past state changes, akin to a historical log. They consist of a monotonically growing counter, a timestamp, and a priority. On the other hand, attributes represent the current state of a device. Events serve the purpose of capturing state changes or other elements of the data model that may be challenging to capture solely through attributes. They provide a means to track and record significant transitions and updates within the system.
Endpoint 0 is a mandatory component present in every node, serving as a container for device utility clusters. These utility clusters encompass data related to discovery, addressing diagnostics, and software/firmware updates. All endpoints, except for Endpoint 0, consist of application clusters that support the primary operations of the node. This implies that Matter includes pre-installed functionality for Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) and Over-The-Air (OTA) updates.
Now let’s discuss fabrics. Anyone who works with the Matter smart home standard sooner or later may encounter the word “fabric.” Given the Thread radio protocol used in Matter, it may be viewed as cloth or textile, which makes sense. The mesh may be considered a fabric if smart home gadgets can build their networks out of wireless threads.
However, the technical term’s plainly stated definition is not complete. Even worse, it takes us in the wrong direction because Matter’s fabrics might include elements other than a Thread network. The standard also allows for the use of the venerable Wi-Fi radio and Ethernet with wires as communication technologies.
What are Fabrics & Multi-Admin in Matter?
Another definition of the word “fabric” helps clarify its meaning: it can also refer to structures, whether they are physical structures like those found on buildings or abstract structures like the social fabric (the interconnectedness of society). In the context of Matter, the fabric represents a community of devices that interact and trust each other. This community forms the foundation of Matter, resembling a closed society where only authorized participants who have proven their reliability are granted access.
Nodes, drawing another metaphor from fabric with threads in a woven tapestry, symbolize the members of this esteemed society. In Matter, however, the nodes of fabric might be associated with entirely separate IP networks throughout the home. Prior to the establishment of the Matter standard, all connections, whether Thread, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet, were considered equal in terms of their importance. These connections are not physically linked but rather share a fundamental element of trust as their foundation.
Matter’s promise of user choice and interoperability is fulfilled through its multi-admin functionality. This empowers individuals to have the freedom of selecting their preferred brands and gadgets, engaging in desired activities and ecosystems, and ensuring their smart home can grow and evolve alongside them. In this video, we will explore how Matter’s core multi-admin feature enables you to simultaneously connect your smart devices to a variety of apps and ecosystems, all within your local network.
Matter 1.1 Release
The updates in the 1.1 release of Matter bring about several improvements aimed at simplifying the process for device makers and developers to adopt Matter and efficiently certify their products for quicker deployment to users. Notably, there is enhanced support for battery-operated devices, which holds significant importance across various smart home categories.
One of the key advantages and distinguishing factors of Matter is its accessible specification and open-source SDK, providing developers with a common foundation for their work. To ensure the ease of use for these tools, we have diligently incorporated feedback and insights from members and early developers, resulting in specification refinements and clarifications. These updates facilitate a smoother onboarding experience, better comprehension, and utilization of the specification.
Additionally, developers now have clearer guidelines for contributing to the Matter specification, including support for new device types. To streamline the testing and certification process for device makers, we have introduced new enhancements to testing automation. These improvements enable device makers to pre-qualify their products, ensuring they meet the necessary certification requirements. Simultaneously, Authorized Testing Laboratories (ATLs) benefit from enhanced automation, leading to more efficient and comprehensive testing procedures.
Matter 1.1 also enhances support for Intermittently Connected Devices (ICDs), a category encompassing various battery-powered devices such as contact sensors, motion sensors, temperature sensors, door locks, and switches. These devices are designed to conserve power for optimal operation and longevity. The improved support significantly reduces the likelihood of these devices being reported as offline when interacting with users or platforms. As a result, developers will find it easier to optimize their products and deliver enhanced user experiences.
Why Matter is the need of the hour for the IoT Industry?
As the consumer IoT market is growing, it is crucial to take the necessary steps regarding security. Data is generated in massive quantities daily, which needs to be secured. Unfortunately, device manufacturers and systems use their thing and adhere to different standards and procedures, creating more issues and making the data less secure. A hacker would need one insecure device to take on the entire network system. Therefore, designing products that meet industry-related standards is essential. Matter uses comprehensive, strong, easy-to-use, robust, and resilient architecture to build secure IoT devices and make it easy for device manufacturers to implement.
Matter also adds a few features to be more suitable for innovative home applications, including secure connectivity, simplicity, event notification, and support for device discovery. A simple use case could be one where you can control your fire TV (from Amazon) using Siri (from Apple).
Another example could be where Matter-compliant smart home devices such as CCTV cameras, doorbells, and fire alarm sensors have a safer and more reliable connection. Devices can connect locally on the home network using thread, making the connection secure, reliable, and easily discoverable by other devices.
The Elements of Your Matter Smart Home Network
Similar to other networks within your home, such as your Wi-Fi network, wireless devices, DVR, and satellite receivers, your Matter smart home also consists of distinct components.
A Matter bridge serves as a connecting device that integrates another smart home ecosystem into your Matter-based smart home. As an example, the Philips Hue Hub, which forms the central component of the Philips Hue smart lighting system, is scheduled to receive an update that will enable Matter compatibility. With this update, the Hue Hub will function as a Matter bridge, seamlessly linking the expansive range of Hue lights and accessories to the Matter ecosystem. Bridges play a crucial role in the Matter smart home environment and its wide-scale adoption, as they allow you to incorporate a diverse collection of smart home devices into the Matter ecosystem, encompassing a vast array of possibilities.
Matter Thread Border Routers
Thread is an essential element of Matter, serving as a low-power IP-based communication protocol that operates on the same frequency as Zigbee for smart home devices. A Thread border router acts as a Matter device equipped with suitable hardware to establish direct communication with Thread devices and facilitate their connection to the broader network. This capability enables the seamless integration of ultra-low-power Matter-compatible devices into your Matter smart home. Examples of such devices include door sensors, motion detectors, and other gadgets that can operate for years using only a few coin cell batteries.
Matter operates as a local network within your home, much like Wi-Fi. It utilizes an IP-based protocol, enabling Matter devices to establish connections with each other through Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Thread.
A Matter controller serves as a crucial component, acting as a bridge between your local network and the broader Internet. This functionality enables remote access to your Matter devices. While the term “controller” is not yet widely adopted, you may commonly encounter the term “hub” being used in reference to devices capable of functioning as Matter controllers. This preference arises from the prevalence of the word “hub” within the smart home community.
Benefits of Matter-enabled Interoperability for IoT Devices
Matter serves as a unified standard for seamless connectivity in smart homes. It offers manufacturers the opportunity to streamline device development processes while delivering consumer-friendly and compatible products.
One common issue with devices that depend on the cloud is that they stop working when they lose internet connectivity. The matter will allow IoT devices to work offline by using threads for increased security, which makes them less reliant on the cloud. Making the innovative home experience more seamless and hassle-free than ever before for the end user.
Interoperability – Matter-compliant devices and hubs from any manufacturer can seamlessly communicate and operate with one another, promoting interoperability across the ecosystem.
Reliability – Local connectivity via Wi-Fi ensures consistent interactivity and security, even in situations where cloud access is not available.
Security – Devices are equipped with Device Attestation Certificates (DACs) issued by trusted PKI roots. These certificates ensure encryption, identity, and authentication for enhanced security.
Simplicity – Matter emphasizes an easy and hassle-free user experience. It simplifies the buying process, offers straightforward setup procedures, and provides user-friendly interfaces for effortless utilization.
The Matter connectivity standard will change the IoT industry with its intelligent features and interoperability, creating a seamless, innovative home user experience. eInfochips, with its years of solid experience and in-depth knowledge of connectivity protocols, home automation systems, and industry standards, will help achieve the connectivity and interoperability challenges and provide solutions for a truly integrated home automation experience. To learn more about our key offerings, contact us
Pooja Kanwar is part of the content team. She has more than two years of experience in content writing. She creates content related to digital transformation technologies including IoT, Robotic Process Automation, and Cloud. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA Hons) Degree in Marketing.