Anyone who has invested in a smart home platform knows the frustration that comes with trying to figure out which devices work with which platforms. The problem is compounded when you try to switch from a service like Samsung's SmartThings to Apple HomeKit. It's been a problem for years, with multiple companies trying to solve the issue by releasing hubs or services that would bring together devices that normally wouldn't work. But, even then, adding yet another app or more hardware to your setup isn't ideal.
Project Connected Home over IP, or CHIP, consists of a group of tech companies big and small who are working together on a new connectivity standard that will make it easy to manage smart home devices on the platform of your choice, and when you want to move to a different platform (Google to Amazon, for example) you can do so without having to buy all new hardware or add another hub to your setup.
On Tuesday, CHIP along with the Zigbee Alliance announced a rebranding. The Zigbee Alliance will now go by Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), a change that better reflects the organization's approach to trying to solidify smart home connection standards, instead of giving the impression it's only focussed on Zigbee. The CSA will continue working on Zigbee standards and protocols, along with Matter, the new brand name for CHIP.
Along with announcing the official name, Matter also has a new logo that you'll begin to see on Matter-certified devices near the end of this year.
The list of companies that have committed to Matter is long, but you can see from the screenshot below it includes the major tech companies who have an interest in smart home technology, like Apple, Google, and Amazon. Samsung's SmartThings platform will also adopt the new protocol.
Even though Matter is a new standard, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to buy new hardware when products become available. For example, Phillips Hue will add Matter connectivity to all of its existing lightbulbs -- even those that are 9 years old -- with a software update later this year.
During the press event, Google teased that it would have more to share about its plans for Matter during Google I/O, which kicks off May 18.