By Kai Quizon,
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Belkin has announced that it will be taking a “big step back” from the nascent Matter standard, calling into question the viability of what was once believed to be the next leap forward in home automation. Belkin, maker of the popular Wemos smart home brand, stated that their devices may eventually support Matter, but they are no longer guaranteeing support of the new standard. This comes as a surprise to many, as Belkin just confirmed its support for the Matter standard at CES 2022.
What is Matter?
You can check out our deep dive into the Matter standard, including supported devices, here. Ultimately, Matter is a communication standard that many large brands, such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung, have embraced. This is the power of the standard: its corporate buy in. You can think of communication standards in home automation like air traffic controllers. The communication standard tells planes where to land and ensures that each flight is compatible with the dozens of others at an airport.
Now, it is not nearly as catastrophic as an airplane crash when your smart home devices don’t communicate, but it can spell disaster for your home automation setup. By buying into the Matter standard, companies are widening the applicability of their devices by ensuring their cross compatibility. Imagine a world where you no longer have to look for the “Works with HomeKit” or “Works with Alexa” stickers, because most major device manufacturers are now using the same communication standard. It would be great!
Belkin Bongles Matter
Belkin has inadvertently pointed out the biggest flaw in the Matter standard: the lack of enforcement. You cannot fly a plane without complying with the FAA’s communication standards. However, anyone can put out a smart home device following any number of communication standards. Belkin’s step back from the standard undermines its sole purpose: to unify as many large smart home manufacturers as possible. It leaves many asking the question, if Belkin did it, who else will follow?
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