Matter

Standardized application layer foundation for connected things

About Matter

Why Matter?

Matter aims to make it easy for developers to create a secure and reliable solution. If you want your products to be interoperable with the major smart home ecosystems, Matter is the way to go.

Supporters

Matter, which began as Project CHIP (Connected Home over IP) started in December 2019. The starting companies were Amazon, Apple, Google, and others including Nordic Semiconductor. The goal is to agree on a unified application layer standard for connected things at home. Matter aims to make it easy for manufacturers to create secure and reliable solutions. These solutions will be interoperable with the major smart home ecosystems like Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, and Amazon's Alexa.

Communication

Matter is using Thread, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet for transport and Bluetooth LE for commissioning. All Matter devices based on Thread are required to feature Bluetooth LE concurrently to enable adding new devices to a network. Wi-Fi can be used for low and high bandwidth applications. It can be used for devices in range of the local Wi-Fi. Thread is an IPv6-based mesh protocol that targets low bandwidth applications. It is the go-to option for battery-powered devices that require the best energy efficiency and for simple actuators like smart plugs or light bulbs. Most mains-connected Thread devices work as a Thread router and will expand the network's range. Thread is a self-healing low-power mesh that can adapt to new devices or to devices being removed from the network. diagram showing a Matter Network. Applications with high throughput requirements connect via Wi-Fi. Less demanding applications (light switches, lights, window blinds sensors, smart locks) use Thread. Communication between Thread and Wi-Fi is done by the Border Routers (Routers, smart tablets, and smart speakers)

Nordic's involvement

Nordic is actively involved and heavily contributing to Matter. We are also a main contributor to the OpenThread stack. This combined with our knowledge and experience in Bluetooth Low Energy makes us the ideal partner to start developing your applications.

Why is Matter needed?

Smart home market

The smart home market is relatively new and has an enormous potential. It has been growing slower than expected for the last years. A plethora of proprietary solutions using different protocols and application layers exist. This led to frustration with developers and consumers.

Internet Protocol

Matter steps in and provides a shared foundation on which to build an application. The goal is to have interoperability between devices and ecosystems. As the former project name suggests, it is based on the Internet Protocol (IP). The IP is the most common network layer used in homes and offices. This makes it ideal for delivering on interoperability and security to devices and services.

Matter Layer model, User application on top layer followed by Mapper API, then TCP and UDP, IPv6 and Thread, Bluetooth LE, Cellular, Wi-FI and Ethernet at the bottom layer

Protocols

Matter provides a standard application layer that is used with a set of wireless technologies. The focus is on Bluetooth LE, Thread ,Wi-Fi and Ethernet. This will be followed by other IP-supporting protocols such as cellular.

Where to get started?

Development hardware

To get started developing your matter product right, you can use our nRF52840 DK  or our nRF5340 DK. When using these kits, all the SoCs functions can be used and tested. All analog and digital interfaces, and GPIOs are available via headers and edge connectors. An onboard SEGGER J-Link enables programming, debugging, and even RTOS awareness during debugging. Both kits are Arduino Uno Rev3 hardware compatible, so they can interface with device shields. Our Power Profiler Kit II (PPK2) is a standalone Kit used to supply and measure currents from sub µA up to 1A. The dedicated current measurement pins on our DKs can be used to connect DKs to a PPK2. The PPK2 can even use digital inputs and work as a low-end logic analyzer, enabling code-synchronized measurements.

Topology monitor

To test with additional Thread devices in your network, you can use nRF52840 Dongles. Our nRF Thread Topology monitor is well suited to visualize the Network.

diagram

If you get stuck at any point and need help, contact our team of Nordic engineers and active community in DevZone.

A good place to start looking is our Thread page. There you can find additional information and all the relevant software and firmware.

We enable your Matter projects

up to date Matter integration

Our nRF Connect SDK has Matter support fully integrated, and our solution is ready for prototyping. We will continue to implement the newest updates with every release. To learn more, have a look at our user guide about Matter.

Matter Samples

We have sample programs for weather stations, light bulbs, light switches, and door locks included in our nRF Connect SDK. We provide a comprehensive user guide about configuring a Matter development environment. The guide explains how to run a Matter accessory on a Nordic Development Kit. It shows what types of Matter controllers to use and how to set them up together with a Thread Border router.

diagram showing a Matter test setup. A Matter controller running on a pc, connected to a matter accessory (Thingy:53) and to a Wi-Fi Access Point. The Wi-Fi Access point ic connected to a Thread Border Router. Both the Matter accessory and the Border router can communicate with the Thread network

These examples show the usage of Matter with our nRF connect SDK. The weather station example lets you remotely gather different kinds of data. It collects temperature, air pressure, and relative humidity, using the device sensors. The resulting device works as a Matter accessory device. It can pair and be remotely controlled over a Matter network built on top of a low-power, 802.15.4 Thread network. Use these samples as references to create your own devices

Developing Matter products webinar