Matter, the technology designed to make smart home tech easier to use and to get rival devices to talk to each other, just got a massive update. Matter 1.2 adds support for a huge range of new device types, and that means it's even more comprehensive than before.
If manufacturers update their Matter devices to support the new version, it could seriously boost your smart home tech.
Here's what's new.
What new devices are supported in Matter 1.2?
- Fridges: Matter supports basic temperature monitoring and control, and can also be used with deep freezers and even wine coolers.
- Aircon: installed air conditioners and thermostats were already covered in the 1.0 specification, but support has now been expanded to cover stand-alone aircon units with temperature and fan mode controls.
- Dishwashers: Matter can now remotely start and monitor compatible dishwashers, and alert you of issues including temperature problems, door lock errors and so on.
- Washing machines: much like dishwashers, you can now remotely start and monitor your wash.
- Robot vacuum cleaners: support now goes beyond remote start and monitoring, with control of cleaning modes (for example switching between vacuuming and mopping) and reporting of charging status.
- Smoke and CO2 detectors: Matter supports notifications and audio and visual alarm signals, as well as battery status warnings and self-testing.
- Air quality sensors
- Air purifiers
The new standard also improves support for EU smart locks, improves device descriptions and should enable manufacturers to bring new devices to market more quickly. We should see the first Matter 1.2 devices before the end of 2023.
Some of these device types are already covered by other smart home standards, so for example Apple's HomeKit works with air purifiers and smoke alarms. But Matter means much wider compatibility across different smart home standards. As an Apple user this addresses a pain point for my smart home, which is that devices with HomeKit compatibility are comparatively rare and often more expensive than ones made for other smart home platforms.
All the key device manufacturers are on-board with Matter, and should hopefully update their firmware to support the 1.2 standard in the coming months. By doing so, everything from home hubs to the best smart speakers should have wider compatibility with more smart home devices. I'm very much in favour of this: anything that gives us more choice in what smart home kit we buy and what we control it with has got to be a good thing.