Matter 1.3 is Here - What it Means for Smart Home Adoption - Silicon Labs (2024)

The Connectivity Standards Alliance has released Matter 1.3, the latest iteration of the specification, keeping to its release cadence of about every six months. As I read through the 1.3 specification, I wondered what developers and consumers think about this frequency. From a user perspective, I welcome it because it shows the investment companies are making in Matter. However, from a developer standpoint, it can be a challenge to keep up.

I recently presented a paper at Embedded World entitled, Matter: Technology and Adoption from a User's Perspective. This took a real-world look at introducing Matter devices to my existing home network of more than 100 devices. As you can see, I have high hopes for Matter - both personally and professionally - so I thought it would be interesting to provide my thoughts on this latest release as a Matter user. Matter 1.3 introduces new device types, new features to existing device types, and core improvements to the specification.

What’s New in Matter 1.3?

Looking at what’s new, we can see new device types for appliances, water management, and energy management.

On the appliance side, we see five new device types. The inclusion of laundry dryers helps augment the laundry washers that were included in Matter 1.2, providing a more complete experience for users. The other four appliances are oriented toward the kitchen, including microwaves, ovens, vent hoods, and cooktops. For me, the vent hood offers the most value, especially when tied to the cooktop, enabling these devices to communicate and be controlled automatically as well as remotely. The other thing you see the Alliance doing is combining common features in clusters that cross device types. This not only creates a common user experience but also simplifies development for these different devices.

For water management, we have new device types for leakage detection, freeze detection, rain sensors, and valves. I have water leak sensors in my house, but I would love to install valves in critical areas. I still remember when I came racing home from work because my water sensor in the attic, where I had a water heater installed, was notifying me that it was wet. I kept envisioning coming home to a ceiling that had collapsed and water all over my room. As it turns out, it was not quite that bad and the notification made it possible for me to turn off the water before it got worse, but it would have been great to have been able to do that remotely.

Energy Management is a new category of device support including energy reporting and electric vehicle charging. Electrical vehicle charging provides control over the charge based on inputs like rate, schedule, mileage needed, etc.

Matter 1.3 Brings Improvements to Existing Devices

Other areas of the release include improvements to existing devices. Casting Video Players, think TVs, adds significant updates. However, for me, one feature stood out, and that is Push Messages and Dialogs. This means Matter devices can now send notifications to the TV. In my house, I can get notifications over my voice assistants, however, I require hearing aids, which I seldom wear in the house. So, I struggle to comprehend audio message since I don’t have context to figure it out. However, the ability to display the message on my TV is a great feature for me.

Matter 1.3 Core Specification Updates

And, of course, Matter 1.3 brought core improvements to the spec, including key areas like scenes, clusters, and the core specification. For example, a change was made for command batching that enables a controller to batch commands into a single message so they can be received and processed simultaneously, minimizing the delay of receiving multiple messages. I personally am glad to see this feature as it can help minimize issues like “popcorn effect” when controlling a large bank of lights, the way I did in my kitchen where I had seven Matter-enabled lights.

Silicon Labs has implemented the Matter 1.3 specification into our Silicon Labs Matter Github and will have it as a Matter extension in our new SDK in June.

The promise of Matter is to unify the home, and to do this, you need both the specification and the products. While Matter has set an unprecedented pace with more than 1,000 products certified, the product availability is still limited compared to mature technologies. In addition, since Matter is based on major technologies like Wi-Fi and 802.15.4, they have a significant head start when comparing available products. However, Matter 1.3 continues to close the gap in supported devices and functionality, and while products based on Matter 1.3 will take a while to hit the shelves due to typical product design cycles, there is no doubt that Matter is on track to unify the smart home.

Matter 1.3 is Here - What it Means for Smart Home Adoption - Silicon Labs (2024)
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