The #1 Reason I Am Rooting for Matter’s Success

If you follow the smart home industry, you are probably familiar with a nifty little communications protocol known as Matter. Matter was launched in late 2022 in hopes that it would revolutionize smart home design. Just over a year later, it has failed to live up to its promises. Yet I am still rooting for Matter’s success. If you want to know why, keep reading.

Matter was supposed to solve a lot of the proprietary issues that continue to plague home automation. We had reason to be hopeful, given the fact that Matter was developed by a consortium that includes the biggest names in smart home tech: Google, Amazon, Samsung, LG, and many more. We had reason to believe that 2023 would be the year that smart home automation would really take off. So why have things failed to materialize?

I will get to that toward the end of this article. But first, I want to dive into the #1 reason I am still rooting for Matter: the ability to have a truly smart home that never needs to access the cloud.

Home Automation Is Cloud-Based

As things currently stand, home automation is cloud-based. I might invest in a complete home automation system from a company like Vivint. But making that system work requires an internet connection. Why? Because all the heavy lifting is done in the cloud. The system is constantly communicating with cloud-based software to do what it does.

There is one exception to this rule: building your own home automation system with an open-source platform that keeps all your data local. But good luck finding compatible devices. That is where Matter comes in.

One of Matter’s promises is being able to install a full array of home automation devices that communicate seamlessly and behave appropriately – all without cloud access. Everything is done locally. That means your personal information is secure. It also means that your home automation provider cannot let itself in and make changes to your system.

Privacy Is of Paramount Importance

I take the position that privacy is of paramount importance. I am already nonplussed by the sheer volume of information I am forced to share with the world because of the way companies do business. I certainly do not want to exacerbate the problem by giving away yet more information.

I also don’t like the idea of outside forces being able to manipulate my home automation devices. If you don’t think that happens, you have not heard about the thousands of customers who were locked out of their thermostats during an uncomfortably hot summer in Colorado.

Challenges Still Remain

I promised to explain why Matter has not delivered, so let us do that before I close. The Verge’s  Jennifer Pattison Tuohy discussed multiple issues in a recently published post, two of which I want to touch on. The first is a lack of motivation among product developers.

Now that Matter is out there, companies like Google and Amazon have very little incentive to make sure their devices play well with those their competitors are producing. They can design devices that support Matter but still retain control over the best features via their proprietary platforms.

The second big issue is lousy multi-admin capabilities. Until this particular issue is fixed, not all features in Matter-enabled devices will work on all platforms. Interoperability will continue to be a wish list item that is never truly realized.

Matteris broken. Few who follow home automation would argue that fact. But I am rooting for it. I’m hoping Matter gets fixed and lives up to its potential.

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