Arguably one of the greatest advancements of the last century for transportation was the creation of the Autobahn in Germany which started around 1913. A particular bit of genius was the creation of long onramps and offramps so vehicles could enter and exit safely and without negatively impacting the flow of traffic. The advancement is now used worldwide to keep people and goods moving.
One hundred and ten years later, we are facing a similar inflection point, but this time with the creation of Matter and its potential to positively change the course of the IoT for many years to come. As a global, open-sourced standard, Matter creates the ability for IoT devices and ecosystems from participating manufacturers to simply and securely communicate with each other, regardless of brand, removing barriers to interoperability and ushering in a new era of innovation.
As a long-time participant in the evolution of IoT, I’ve witnessed a particular barrier to adoption and that’s fragmentation. Chipset suppliers, manufacturers, software developers and consumers alike have been severely stilted by fragmentation in the ecosystem which has led to the walled gardens we have known up until now.
I’ve personally witnessed multimillion-dollar IoT start-ups with great ideas for innovation stall in traffic because they either couldn’t find an addressable market due to the limitations of interoperability. Or they didn’t have the prowess to solve end-to-end network layer challenges, transport and language protocols along with the user experience. Add to that the complexity for consumers cobbling disparate devices together to create some semblance of a Smart Home and you have a recipe for gridlock.
In my experience, consumers need one if not two things to spur adoption. They either need to be delighted by the experience or it should simply become invisible. Consider WiFi even ten years ago versus the experience today. WiFi has become ubiquitous and at the same time for most consumers, invisible in terms of how it just works.
Just as the innovation of the autobahn evolved to become table stakes for the superhighways of today, standards are going to propel the IoT going forward. Innovators can quickly change the world by building to the Matter standard since the transport layer utilizing IP protocol has a universal solution virtually available to anyone. Communication for a lock, a light, an appliance or smart speaker now has a common language whether it’s being implemented in Boston, Bonn or Beijing.
I have the privilege of being the head of technology for the Connectivity Standards Alliance and am excited to work with more than 200 companies and thousands of their engineers creating the first Matter standard being released this Fall. Like all standards that evolve through the work of a collective, we are creating tremendous accelerators to mass adoption and innovation through a powerful SDK and a strong certification program so the IoT ecosystem can realize a rapid on-ramp to interoperability.
As we progress to a full open standard for Matter 1.0, the question to ask is how can we make it better going forward? The simple answer is more collaborators with experience across a greater variety of use-cases. So, all you robot vacuum manufacturers, energy management solution providers, home and commercial camera companies and even air purifier makers, we need you to clip in and climb on with us. The door is open for you to join us on this trek.
I promise it’s no less exciting than a supercar cruising down the autobahn. Where Matter takes us from here is only limited to our imagination and the ability to excite and amaze consumers.
Authored by Chris LaPré, Head of Technology, Connectivity Standards Alliance