Matter will get your smart tech to play nice

If you’ve been frustrated by your connected devices not working together, so have the companies that make them, and their solution is beginning to pick up steam.

What happened: A common theme among the smart home products announced at CES 2024 was compatibility with Matter, an open-source standard that lets devices from different manufacturers connect to each other and be controlled from a single app of the user’s choice.

  • LG’s new TVs will be able to act as a Matter controller, a central hub to view and manage devices.
  • Other new Matter-supported products include smart locks, light switches, robot vacuums, and light bulbs.
  • Amazon also announced that it would support Matter casting — which allows video and audio to beamed onto different devices from your phones  — on new Echo Show and Fire TV devices.

Catch-up: Matter was first introduced in 2022 based on work from a group led by Amazon, Apple, and Google, which was later expanded to included the likes of IKEA, Huawei, and Samsung.

Why Matter matters: One reason connected homes and smart tech haven’t taken off as companies had hoped is closed ecosystems, with a different app to control products from each brand (and, sometimes, an app for each device). Manufacturers hope working together will make the category as a whole more accessible.

  • Amazon is also the first to support Matter casting, which is a much more common use case for most people.

Yes, but: Matter has some to-be-patched bugs on multi-admin control, which has made connecting some devices to multiple platforms and apps (one of the main selling points) frustrating. Also, devices supporting Matter are relatively new, so you may have to replace your tech if you want to see any of the benefits.