With the Matter smart home protocol now approved and broadly supported, Samsung said that it is expanding its partnership with Google. The goal? Make it easier than ever to onboard and control smart home devices.
“As the largest Android developer, Samsung values its strong partnership with Google,” Samsung corporate vice president Jaeyeon Jung says. “Providing users with greater flexibility is a natural progression in our evolution as partners, allowing us to better support our massive existing and potential user base with both Samsung and Google products. Both [Samsung] and Google are committed to user choice and giving consumers the power to control their own devices. This collaboration furthers that commitment by enhancing the user experience and promoting transparency between ecosystems.”
The Samsung announcement focuses on one aspect of the Matter standard, its so-called multi-admin capabilities. This cuts to the heart of why Matter is both necessary and important: to date, smart home products have each offered compatibility with some subset of smart home infrastructures—Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings key among them—and many offer their own management and control apps and other interfaces. With Matter, compatible products are interoperable across these infrastructures and can be centrally controlled via whatever interface users prefer. (And, among other advantages, this means that devices that weren’t previously compatible with a particular infrastructure can be made compatible simply by supporting Matter.)
Matter has other advantages, of course: compatible devices will be more easily discoverable ad more quickly set up than has usually been the case with smart home devices. And the protocol ensures that all compatible devices can be controlled over the Internet.
Samsung’s smart home infrastructure, SmartThings, is perhaps the least important of the big players, but like Amazon, Apple, and Google, the firm is keen to keep its customers inside its own ecosystem, and adopting Matter makes SmartThings more viable. And through this expanded partnership, the firm says that SmartThings users will automatically be made aware of smart home devices that were previously configured via Google Home, and vice-versa. This is a nice level of interoperability that makes choosing a particular infrastructure less of a one-way, dead-end street. As Samsung notes, “users won’t have to manually add each of their devices one at a time or worry about which ecosystem their device has been set up on first.”
Matter is a big deal, of course, and I’ll be writing more about this new advance soon.