One of the big smart home trends for 2023 is Matter compatibility. It's designed to make all your smart home tech connect and integrate with all your other smart home tech, and pretty much every manufacturer is behind it. And it's nice to see that firms such as Amazon aren't limiting their Matter support to brand new devices: they're bringing it to your existing hardware too.
In a post (opens in new tab) to the Amazon Developer site, Amazon's Marja Koopmans explains that the next stage of Amazon's Matter roll-out is to bring Matter over Thread to the most recent Echo and Eero devices.
That's in addition to Amazon's existing Matter roll-out, which brought Matter over WiFi to a range of Alexa-enabled devices, plugs, switches and bulbs. So it means more flexibility and even better compatibility with devices such as Apple's TV 4K 128GB, which also supports Matter over Thread.
What is Matter over Thread?
Matter works over a variety of different communications standards. The more kinds of Matter your hardware supports, the more choice you have and the more flexibility your smart home system offers.
For example, Matter over Wi-Fi enables your Matter hardware to communicate with other Matter-compatible kit via your wireless network; Matter over Zigbee enables communication with Zigbee devices such as Philips Hue lights; Matter over Bluetooth... you get the idea. Thread is a local networking protocol designed for smart home devices, so Matter over Thread adds Thread networking to your device's range of talents.
As Koopmans puts it, "This multi-protocol support on Echo devices enables customers to mix and match devices with a unified experience, and tap into the latest innovations without having to consider connectivity protocols or invest in additional equipment."
This is a really big deal, because Amazon is bringing Matter to over 100 million Echo devices that are already in people's homes. And it's not the only big name doing it. Retro-fitting existing devices with Matter compatibility is a really smart move, because it solves the problem of early adoption: you don't want to buy devices with the latest communication tech if you can't get it to communicate with the kit you already have. By bringing Matter to existing hardware, smart home firms are making Matter adoption faster and a whole lot easier.