Insights

Mind Over Matter!

9 March 2022

Big tech attempts to produce a silver bullet for smart home interoperability will always disappoint. The on the ground experience of a true smart home integrator will always triumph, here is why.

Recent significant news in the smart home world was that several global companies have signed up to an initiative called ‘Matter’, a connectivity protocol involving Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung, that promises to make all smart home devices work together. 

Styled as a new ‘Smart Home Standard’, the initiative promises to make setting up a smart home faster, easier and free from compatibility issues. 

The initiative was born as Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and several others leveraged the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), a standards-setting organisation for the Internet of Things industry, to create a new connectivity standard. The initiative commenced around two years ago and is known as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) and its supporting companies now number over 200. Now called Matter, the idea is that all products displaying the official logo will be compatible. The whole thing is set to launch in the middle of 2022. Sounds good right? well, actually no, not really.

Smart homes need micro not macro management.

The products covered by the initiative are very much at the entry level of the market and it’s likely to stay that way. Manufacturers who spend serious R&D dollars making high-performance products do not want to position themselves in a market they see as a DIY, low performance arena. So, the lesson here is that if you want high-functioning smart homes and entertainment systems that cater for specific needs, Matter won’t get you there, because high-performance makers are unlikely to be present.  

What Matter represents is an expansion over already established wireless communication standards such as Zigbee and Z-Wave. Now, both these do get used in the smart home sector up to a point, but have always been seen as a compromise solution for retrofit projects when the running of cables and proper smart home infrastructure has not been possible.

At Philharmonic, we are not in the business of compromise when it comes to delivering the performance our customers expect. This new standard will be the same, it may provide the smart home installer some opportunity when options are limited and functionality only needs to be at a low level, but for genuine smart home and luxury entertainment experiences, Philharmonic operates at a different level.

The other point to underline is that any system like this is open to technical issues. It’s already been made plain that neither existing entry level wireless protocols Zigbee and Z-wave will be compatible, so not quite as universal as the marketing would have you believe.

Our experts also see entry level smart home devices struggle. A common issue is software updates creating performance and network visibility issues and that is just when the products are not expected to work with other manufacturer’s devices, which will also be dealing with their own software updates. The pitfalls are numerous to say the least.

You wouldn’t let an inexperienced mechanic employed by a huge multi-national corporation design and then service a high-performance car, right? so why risk a similar scenario with a luxury smart home project? Matter can’t and won’t reach the performance we demand.

Removing risk is a key part of the Philharmonic offering as is creating high-performance systems designed specifically for every customer and project, constructed around rock-sold infrastructure that delivers peace of mind, luxury, entertainment and convenience, no matter how big the challenge!

In harmony with you.
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