If you’ve kept up with smart home news for the past couple of years, you’ve likely heard of something called “Matter.” You might have seen quite a bit of excitement surrounding it. It’s also possible you’ve seen confusion or uncertainty around why it’s important. Maybe you’re even confused or uncertain yourself. I’d like to help. First, I’ll explain what Matter is. Then, I’ll dive into why it’s really important for a smart home. Finally, I’ll give you a sense of what to expect from Nanoleaf and our plans around Matter.
What is Matter?
Matter is a new language for smart home devices and platforms to use. It’s universal, meaning that all your favorite platforms like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Home, and Samsung SmartThings will speak the same language as all the new smart home products from Nanoleaf and hundreds of other companies collaborating together on Matter. It’s flexible, meaning you don’t need to choose just one platform. You can use the voice assistant you already have in your home alongside the smartphone you already have in your pocket, regardless of the manufacturer. Matter also works locally in your home, no Cloud connection is required. This means faster and more reliable smart home control and automation.
Why does Matter…matter?
Matter is a foundation. It’s a single language. It’s a critical first step in solving a very large problem in the smart home today: complexity. Currently, smart home is a collection of many different products from many different companies. The problem is that most products speak different languages. The power of software is that we have lots of translators that make things “work.” But this is far from simple, especially for users like you. For any new product, you have to check whether it works with all the platforms or devices that you might be interested in. Chances are there’s going to be something that it isn’t “integrated” with yet. Maybe it’s coming soon. Most of the time, this “coming soon” is a simple matter of “yet another way to turn off a lightbulb.” Matter will make these “simple matters” actually simple.
Will Nanoleaf work with Matter?
Since our beginnings, Nanoleaf has been pioneers at integrating with smart home platforms to help our users optimize their experiences. We were among the first smart lighting products to launch on HomeKit in 2015. When Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant opened their smart home platforms in 2016, we were there. We’ve built our own local APIs for developers to use to control our products. Each of these efforts has brought value for you, but at their core, they are solving the same problem in a slightly different way.
So when Matter was first announced at the end of 2019, we knew right away we needed to be at the forefront of this new protocol. Nanoleaf prides itself on innovating and bringing products to market that you haven’t seen before. Matter means we can build support for one language to control our products and focus much more of our time innovating on problems that haven’t been solved yet. We’ve been collaborating closely with other members of the Connectivity Standards Alliance from Day 1 and will be ready to bring new products to market as soon as Matter is ready for everyone later this year.
What does the future of smart lighting look like?
When we look at the entire smart lighting industry, we don’t think it’s smart enough…yet. We think automation will be key. And by automation, we don’t mean complex rules that you have to set up yourself. We mean a home that intuitively reacts to your presence and provides the light you need when you need it. So what’s needed to make that a reality?
For one, you’re going to need way more sensors than you probably have today. Those sensors need to be easy to install, which means they should be wireless. Battery life needs to be as long as possible. This is why we chose Thread for our Essentials lights and future sensors—read more about the promise of Thread and a Shared Mesh in this blog.
Thread is much lower power than Wi-Fi and has built-in mesh capabilities to cover your entire home. Since Matter supports both Thread and Wi-Fi together, it was an obvious choice to ensure all our future lighting automation products support it.
Supporting Matter as a single language also means that our products are much more future-proof. We believe we are still very early in smart home. We have lots of exciting things in our roadmap that you haven’t seen before. But there will also be lots of complementary products and services still to come from others. Working with Matter means that our products will immediately plug into any new smart home solutions that also work with Matter. That’s exciting for us, and it should be for you too!