Why the new smart-home standard matters

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Whirlpool’s smart appliances will soon have a slew of new housemates.

That’s because the world’s largest white-goods manufacturer has thrown its smart-home support behind Matter, a new open-source protocol it describes as “the gold standard” of connectivity. Developed by Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Google, and embraced by LG, Haier, Midea and IKEA among hundreds of other businesses, Matter holds the promise of simple, secure and reliable compatibility between multiple home devices.

Created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which previously devised the Zigbee smart-home platform, the new IP-based ecosystem “allows consumers to enjoy all the smart features found on our products while connecting compatible devices and systems with one another — and controlling them from their preferred app or voice assistant,” said Whirlpool’s global platforms VP Ludo Beaufils. “If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that connectivity is essential to our mission of improving life at home for our consumers.”

The Matter standard launched in October and its core features of interoperability, control, convenience and security began rolling out in consumer products last month. Whirlpool said it joins a growing consortium of some 274 global companies and 3,000 engineers spanning the entire value chain, from chips and software to hardware and retail. And, as the CSA notes, the new IoT (Internet of Things) protocol will benefit retailers by expanding the smart-home category, simplifying the purchase process and lowering operational costs.

“We’re excited to add Whirlpool Corp. to our list of leading companies committing support and participating in Matter,” said CSA president/CEO Tobin Richardson. “Appliances are one of the major categories of smart devices that consumers want to have connected in their home, and Matter is a pathway that can make this mainstream through interoperability, efficiency and convenience. Whirlpool’s nearly 111 years of experience in the appliances industry will be invaluable to the Alliance and the Matter working group as we look to add support for this important category of devices to the core standard in the near future.”

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