Finally, help for the dysfunctional Smart Home
January 8, 2023
Standardization of the Smart Home

It always starts this way. New technology arrives, takes root, and before you know it everyone has a better way to implement it and wants to somehow corner the market. That is the current state of affairs with today’s dysfunctional smart home. 

To illustrate, I have a variety of Nest products which includes a couple of hubs, a doorbell, thermostat, speakers, and cameras. All of these items are best friends and speak to one another regularly. I also own GE appliances which are WiFi enabled. All of these items are best friends and speak to each other regularly. But the Nest siblings and the GE siblings will have nothing to do with each other and require separate apps on your phone. I wanted to add smart lights to the mix and guess what. Most, if not all of the manufactures want you to use their phone app. In fairness to Google, Google will allow you to link to disparate systems but the functionality is minimal. And by the way, there are not many smart light bulbs on the market which are fully compatible with Google. Ultimately I purchased YeeLight bulbs. 

The goal of Matter is to fix all of this by getting manufactures to agree on a connectivity standard. In essence the standard prescribes how to conduct business and how to communicate with other Matter devices. The big players (Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings) are in and the list now includes more than 280 others.

Common Components

A typical smart home in this area will consist of an internet provider such as Comcast or CenturyLink and a collection of smart devices from either Amazon or Google. This can be augmented with a variety of smart appliances from GE, Samsung, or LG.

Comcast/Xifinity Gateway

Comcast states the Xfinity xFi lets you manage your home WiFi network and connected home. You can self-install and set up your WiFi environment in minutes, find your WiFi password, discover who's online, view camera video, troubleshoot issues and manage family members' online experiences with features like Pause and Parental Controls. The new gateway will boost capacity in the home with three WiFi bands – 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and a new, 6 GHz band.


Amazon already supports many of the most popular smart home connectivity protocols such as WiFi, Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy, Thread, and now Matter. The goal is to make Alexa compatible with as many smart home devices as possible — regardless of the protocols on which they’re built. They plan to start rolling out Matter over WiFi spanning 17 different Echo devices, Plugs, Switches, and Bulbs with the Android setup app in December of this year.


To control a Matter-enabled device with the Google Home or Assistant, you’ll need a hub. Matter controllers will include the original Google Home speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio and Nest Wifi. Nest Wifi, Nest Hub Max and Nest Hub (2nd gen) will also serve as Thread border routers, allowing you to connect devices built with Thread — ie. a backyard security camera that needs long-range connectivity — to your home network. In anticipation of this roll out Google has also updated the Home app.


Not everything is ice cream and sprinkles. Some existing devices may not be upgradable. For those devices you will either have to live with the status quo or replace them. The other issue is, Matter is brand new. It is safe to say it will not be wrinkle free and there will be problems to be resolved. In fact there are about 900 issues currently being worked on now and not all devices are currently supported. By that I mean security cameras, home appliances, and “advanced energy management,” as well as presence sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in process.

But with that being said, there is commitment from many of the major companies and for those who would like to select smart home components from a variety of manufacturers, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.