Developing the Future of Smart Home with a Standard that Matters – Comarch Matter POC

Matter, an interoperability standard officially born in 2022, promises to solve the problem of smart homes filled with uncooperative walled gardens. Recognizing the importance of Matter, and as an experienced partner in the development of devices based on connectivity standards, Comarch has already immersed itself in the possibilities offered by this protocol and created a Matter Proof of Concept. How does it work in detail?

What is the Matter protocol and how does is it make the smart home more accessible?

The Matter protocol, released on October 4, 2022 by the Connectivity Standards Alliance, is an open-sourced standard that enables connectivity across devices from a wide range (over 200) of manufacturers – from Apple and Google to Samsung and LG. Its goal is to simplify smart home technology by providing interoperability for end users, no matter what device they buy or platform they use. Additionally, Matter can operate on a local network (without the necessity of a cloud), which means that all smart home devices should not only be more responsive, but also work when the Internet connection is down.

The “one for all” protocol was created to address the biggest challenge to the rapid adoption of smart home technology – the number of standards piling up. The idea of a fully connected home was created primarily to make our lives easier. Meanwhile, figuring out which products work with which, and which platforms to use to control lighting, locks, heating, energy consumption, and more, made the smart home concept more distant future than reality. That's where Matter enters the picture.

Comarch's solution for new smart home technology – Matter protocol based trial device

With our extensive experience in Bluetooth, OpenThread, and IoT technologies, as well as our previous work supporting Apple HomeKit (a technology heavily relied upon by the new standard), we were able to create a prototype solution based on the Matter protocol. Preparing the Comarch Matter POC required us to create a demonstration software with a modified and configured environment that would address the real use case of home automation. In this way, we've developed two embedded applications for Matter devices based on Silicon Labs boards.

One is the lighting app with brightness support, which stimulates a real light bulb to change brightness (current brightness levels 0-100%), while the other is the light sensor app based on the Silicon Labs brd4166a board with Si1133 UV index and ambient light sensor. Both Matter devices use Thread for communication, and the iPhone uses the Apple Home application as the Matter controller.

The Apple HomePod Mini was used as the Thread router.  The Apple Home app on the iPhone connects to the HomePod Mini via the cloud, and the HomePod Mini connects to local devices (a light bulb and a light sensor) via Thread.

To prepare the Comarch Matter POC, we have:

  • created a Matter environment setup for Silicon Labs hardware;
  • developed a Matter light sensor example application and light bulb application;
  • debugged a Matter protocol and communication layer;
  • used the ZAP tool to manage the Matter clusters;
  • created a setup smart home network for Matter (consisting of Matter devices, Apple HomePod mini and iPhone controller with Home app).

How can Comarch support further development of devices based on Matter?

Creating the Comarch Matter POC was an opportunity to delve into the new Matter standard and software development kit. This is a good starting point to become a reliable partner for companies that want to take advantage of the availability of the Matter protocol.

What can be done next? At Comarch, we are capable of maintaining Matter samples in custom Software Development Kit for different hardware platforms. We have skills to add new Matter samples with new features. Due to our experience with Bluetooth, Thread and HomeKit, we also have strong knowledge related to radio communication debugging and bug fixing. Furthermore, we have experience with application engineering under various of IoT projects like HomeKit. 

In other worlds, this is just the beginning of how we can help companies implement the Matter standard in their products and make these devices ready for the market.

Summary – a standard that matters a lot for the future of smart home

Matter is the result of an unprecedented industry coalition and is one of the most promising developments in the current smart home landscape. Comarch, which has been actively contributing to the promotion and implementation of new industry standards for years, is at the forefront of the dynamic development of the Matter protocol and is ready to help our customers implement new, more advanced smart home devices.

You can find more about our solution in the Case Study: Comarch Matter POC – The Future of Smart Home.