How to make smart home devices work together

Smart home devices don’t all have to be the same brand to be connected. There’s a new standard for tech to make it all work together.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Connected gadgets around the home can be super-convenient. Lights that turn on automatically, doors that lock and unlock from your phone, and the list goes on and on. But making sure all those different devices work together is often an annoying struggle. That could soon change. 

“It seems you have to choose if you want to work mainly with Alexa, Google, Apple, or something different altogether. But thanks to a new home standard called Matter, that’s all changing,” said Dan Wroclawski of Consumer Reports

The new standard was created by several tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and other companies so that consumers could choose their smart home devices based on features and price rather than compatibility with a specific system. 

“The goal of the new standard is interoperability. That means getting devices to work together and getting them to be easier to use, easier to set up, and more secure so that you don’t have to worry about being hacked,” said Wroclawski. 

Another big benefit for consumers: is increased competition. Consumers will see a lot more product options in the marketplace, and that should help to lower prices and make these products more affordable.

Right now, Matter supports a handful of smart home products like door locks, lightbulbs, thermostats, and TVs. But you can expect much more in the future, including home appliances, security cameras, and smart speakers.

So how do you know which smart home devices support Matter? 

“For new devices, it will be very easy to tell. You should see a Matter logo on the packaging or in the user manual. For products you already own, some are being updated via software to support Matter, and for others, you’ll probably get an email or notification in the app for the devices,” said Wroclawski.

Matter also lets you control devices via multiple smart home systems at the same time. That means you can turn on your lights from your Samsung smartphone, dim them by asking Alexa on an Amazon Echo speaker, and then turn them off from your iPad.

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