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Matter - from a specification to viable Smart Home products

We share our best insights about how to create a competitive, Matter-compatible product.

Markku Tamski / August 16, 2023
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October 4th 2022, after years of work, Matter 1.0 was released with subsequent releases already in progress. Now that the specification is a reality, it's time to focus on building products with Matter!

CSA's Matter standard for Smart Home interoperability has come a long way since our last update in June 2021. In this blog, we outline two tracks for product development: one about turning the Matter specification into reality in your products, and another about adding features and services that Matter does not cover. Both tracks are important for creating a competitive, Matter-compatible product. Our previous considerations for building a Matter product still apply, and we also highlight other plans and steps to take for creating a successful Matter product.

Matter implementation can start by creating your own stack from zero or by taking the CSA Matter Open Source reference implementation as the starting point. The reference implementation is a major step towards a functional stack. It’s improving with community feedback, but it is a reference implementation that requires effort to adapt and improve, before it is ready to be used in products. First step is to understand the codebase, what it has and what it doesn’t, and the best way from our lessons learned is to create Matter device Proof-of-Concept (PoC).

Matter PoC is one input to embedded device software product development plans. PoC’s can be used to evaluate hardware and development tool options available with hardware vendors’ development kits and identify focus areas for product hardware configurations. This will lessen the risks associated with hardware selection and development, and potentially speed up the product development execution.

Once you have the PoC, you can compare it with your product requirements, identifying missing features, quality and performance issues, and start planning, how to create product quality Matter device software. Aiming for Matter testing and certification is one important source of requirements for that product creation, but this work does not stop with Matter. Testing and certifications across all the technologies used in the product are needed for extending interoperability also outside Matter.

As noted, Matter specification evolves over time with expanding scope. Our next key topic is managing product configurations with ever-evolving Matter standard. Changes to specification scope and the reference implementation may create interoperability issues when the device is already out in the marketplace. As an example: Matter may provide only basic features to control a light fixture, but a vendor might want to add their own advanced product features to be competitive. Matter may define some of those same features in a later spec version, so being able to manage all the configurations of your products out in the field, as well as in future devices or software versions, is crucial.

Upgrading your device, for example, to support newer Matter features leads us to the next topic: Matter device integration with cloud services. Matter specification defines the protocol for software update between devices, but it doesn’t define the needed Over-the-Air (OTA) software update cloud services or communication with those services. Software update is one example of a service that is critical for all connected devices to have, but not in scope for the Matter specification.

We will look at these areas in more detail in our next blog, stay tuned.

Our experienced software engineers and architects help smart home device manufacturers to develop and maintain software for smart home products. We are an active member of the Connectivity Standards Alliance contributing to the compatibility of smart home technologies among IoT products and ecosystems.

Markku Tamski
Lead Software Architect

Markku Tamski has solid long-term experience in software and product development covering automotive as well as smart devices and connected services. His career includes working for 15+ years on leading-edge mobile device and connected service software technologies, and for the past 6+ years with automotive software and product development. During this time, he has worked in varied roles, such as crafting SW development processes and architectures, and leading development projects, software builds, releases and deliveries, as well as product and manufacturing quality assurance activities.

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