The material, as a smart home standard, will make everything about having a smart home better. Devices can be set up using any phone, either for remote or local control, placed on any major platform (such as Alexa, Google, or HomeKit) or combinations thereof, and avoid becoming orphaned if their device maker goes out of business. Less fragmentation, more security, fewer unwanted devices: win, win, win.
The material, as it exists in late 2023, more than a year after its 1.0 specification was published and just under a year after the first devices came online, is more like xkcd script Which many people probably expected. It's another standard for home automation right now, and it's not particularly better than the others, at least how it works today. I hope that is not the case.
Setting up Matter isn't easy, nor is getting it to work across home systems. A lot of Matter-enabled devices still require you to download their maker's app for full functionality. Even if you're an early Matter-T-shirt enthusiast, you're still buying hardware that doesn't perform well, and you still generally need a major tech company's gear to act as your bridge or router.
Lights are important, but do less
The Verge's Jennifer Pattison Toohey has written and tested more material than anyone else who doesn't work at the Communications Standards Alliance, which oversees the specification. like She puts it:
I've been testing Matter devices all year, and this was the most frustrating year in my decade-plus experience with smart home devices. Twelve months later, I no longer have a single Matter-based device working reliably in my home. To make matters worse (yes, I know), the one system that has always been solid, Philips Hue smart bulbs, is basically unusable in any of my smart home platforms since I moved it over to Matter.
When Matter's upgrade to Hue lights came out in September, I didn't move to switch out my bulbs. For one thing, this would not result in a net loss of limited-purpose devices (i.e., hubs). If you want to move your Hue bulbs over to the Matter and control them through the Google Home app, you'll need a Google Home Hub or Home Mini to act as a Matter Bridge device. The same goes for Alexa (Echo devices), Samsung SmartThings (hub), or Apple Home (Apple TV or HomePod/mini). You'll also lose some Hue-specific functionality, like strobe lighting and scenes (like green/red holiday schemes). As Tuohy notes, this network likely won't be any more reliable than the proprietary Zigbee setup Hue was working on before.
The smart home and automation market is pretty much like this everywhere. Offer a property Material compatible light bar, T1, but it requires a hub, and using Matter means you can't use Apple's light-sensing adaptive brightness, because Matter doesn't support that yet. The same applies to the eco-friendly Nanoleaf material Lamps And Stripswhich is capable of using Matter and Thread but requires Nanoleaf's own app to provide Nanoleaf's version of adaptive lighting.
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