Testing, One, Two, Three…

We’ve all seen a performer do a microphone check, making sure the system is working properly, but have you ever wondered what it takes to do that check for IoT products? Well, it’s more than a tap on the mic!  Members and staff in partnership have worked hard to build a robust and resilient testing and certification process for products that incorporate our standards.  And, if you’ve been tracking progress on Matter, we’re deep into that effort, having conducted nine Test Events for Matter since late 2021.   

Matter, if you haven’t heard, is our new, open, IP-based IoT protocol slated for release this fall and set to address one of IoT’s biggest challenges – interoperability. Products that are certified will showcase the Matter logo signifying to customers interoperability, security, reliability and easier set up. It has been under development at the Connectivity Standards Alliance, driven by hundreds of member companies supplying engineers and the Intellectual Property to make it happen.

From my perspective, as head of certification for the Alliance, the fun has just begun as we start what we call the Specification Validation Event, or SVE. The SVE is a formal process that signals we’re one step closer to specification release. It’s not only where we take products and platforms through their paces, but also where we validate the specification itself, exercise our test plans, test scripts, testing tools, and test automation.  We’re even testing the testers – validating that participating test labs are ready to perform testing on submitted Matter products once the specification is released and our Certification Program is available.  This is a true team effort, as my partner in this effort, Naveen Kommareddi who chairs the Matter certification subgroup, and I work with our members from that group, from product companies and from test labs to exercise the entire system.

The first wave of SVE work kicked off this week with live face-to-face, global SVE testing in China, Europe, and North America. A quick look at the numbers tells the story – 35 member companies in this initial face-to-face wave and 7 participating test labs testing 25 different device types with 120 people participating across three sites.  This involves a lot of commitment and orchestration and I want to thank our test lab hosts: UL Solutions in China, Eurofins Digital Testing in Europe, and Bureau Veritas in North America. It takes a lot to be ready for events like this, especially for a project of this scale and scope!  

The SVE process will continue throughout the summer with additional face to face and a second wave of  virtual testing and validation. I would be remiss if I didn’t stress the absolute importance of having a rigorous and thorough testing and certification process in place as we introduce a transformative new IoT communications protocol in the form of Matter. To reach Matter’s promise of simplicity, interoperability, security, and reliability – there can be no shortcuts, we must get it right from the outset. In short, the testing and certification efforts underpin what it takes to create the trust and confidence necessary for a successful launch with our members, future members and ultimately consumers.

While some might wish the process was as simple as a mic check, the ability of Matter to transform the IoT from a walled garden to a bastion of interoperability and innovation deserves a lot more scrutiny and process. We’ve begun the heavy lifting this week to take us into the home stretch. We can’t wait to share the fruits of our labor this fall.

Jon Harros is the Director of Certification and Testing for the Connectivity Standards Alliance and is based in the United Kingdom. Harros became involved with the Zigbee Alliance more than 13 years ago and has held a variety of leadership roles within the Alliance as both a corporate member volunteer and an Alliance team member.