Amazon announces Matter rollout plans

  • November 30, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Amazon has announced its roll out plans for the Matter smart-home standard, which it hopes will help it achieve its vision of making smart-home devices from different brands work together.

Marja Koopmans, director of health and smart home at Amazon, has spent her career assembling the building blocks for a smart home where devices as different as smart speakers, plugs, lights, vacuum cleaners, thermostats and TVs talk with each other, perform tasks and chores, and make life easier and more efficient for their owners.

Koopmanse lives in a smart home, and many of the devices she owns were built by Amazon. However, she is quick to point out that no single company can pull off the vision of a “home that works for you” by itself.

“It’s not an easy job, stitching together all these different experiences with all these different devices and brands, but we think that’s best for customers,” Koopmans said. “That’s why we do the hard work. We provide more value to customers faster by working together.”

Amazon was a founding member and contributor to Matter, a smart-home standard that aims to make smart-home devices made by different brands work together.

Matter began to roll out to devices across the smart home industry last month and, at a launch celebration in Amsterdam, Amazon announced plans to bring Matter to Amazon devices, as well as Matter partnerships with other device makers. The standard has the potential to resolve several issues smart-home customers and developers experience.

Matter aims to reduce the need for device makers to build different versions of their products for different smart-home systems. This could enable them to focus more on innovating and less on ensuring their devices can connect properly to different systems, which is a frustration many users experience today.

Nobody wants to buy a smart device, only to find it is not compatible with their preferred smart-home system. Matter could help resolve compatibility issues so users can focus on finding and purchasing the products and features they need.

The idea is that when someone buys a Matter-compatible device, they will have the confidence it will work with the devices and smart-home systems already in their homes.

While Matter is a hugely exciting development, it takes time to implement this standard in over 100 million Amazon devices, said Koopmans. That’s why she emphasised that Amazon would focus on delivering a high-quality customer experience starting with Matter over wifi to select Echo devices and Amazon smart plugs, switches and bulbs with Android setup this year, before expanding to more operating systems, smart-home products and devices in the future.

Users can already mix and match more than 30,000 devices with the Works with Alexa (WWA) badge, which gives them confidence the device has been tested and certified to work with Alexa. These devices use wireless protocols such as wifi, Zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy. Soon Matter will join them.

Together with the Matter announcement, Amazon introduced WWA certification requirements for Matter devices. They will help support innovation and choice, and improve the reliability and functionality of connected devices.

“The Matter standard sees the industry sharing a goal to enable a more seamless experience, which, if successful, will fuel the next wave of growth in smart-home technology,” said Ben Wood chief analyst and CMO at CCS Insight.

Koopmans added: “By working together across the industry, I think we are better able to provide value to customers and to deliver on the promise of the smart home. The smart home should be one that saves you time, effort and energy while helping you feel more secure and connected. By working to ensure the convenient and increasingly consistent compatibility between smart-home devices from numerous brands, Matter is a big step on Amazon’s journey to deliver on that promise.”