Amazon pushes further into Matter interop with support for Echo and other smart home hardware

The Matter open interoperability protocol stands to matter even more for smart devices now that Amazon  has rolled out Matter with Alexa using Wi-Fi across 17 of its Echo devices as well as support for plugs and switches and Android setup. 

Amazon’s news undoubtedly will be important to owners of smart home devices, but also to many thousands of developers building products that hope to interoperate with Amazon devices.  The initial wave of Matter’s global impact will undoubtedly be across smart home device interoperability, but office and industrial device makers are eyeing or developing along the protocol as well.

The goal of Matter across hundreds of companies is to allow devices and services from different brands to talk to each other.  Amazon's announcement comes less than a week after Google announced Matter compatibility with Nest and Android devices.

“Tens of millions of Alexa customers across the globe now have more ways to connect their devices with the availability of Matter over WiFi,” Amazon said in a blog on Monday. “It’s been our goal to make Alexa compatible with as many smart home devices as possible—regardless of the protcols on which they’re built.” In addition to Android setup, Amazon is announcing in early January broad Matter availability across iOS and Thread, according to a spokesperson.

The rollout is the first phase of Amazon’s adherence to the Matter open protocol. At CES 2023 in early January, Amazon will make announcements on a developer portal, and show off smart home devices.   The first 17 Echo devices that work as Matter controllers include the 5th generation Echo Dot and Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 10.

Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, said CES 2023 is expected to include many smart home device makers and it will be interesting to see how much the Matter standard is being applied. 

Amazon said the transition to Matter is a work in progress. “Our phased approach allows us to begin rolling out Matter support for the most common device types while continuing to work through interoperability, stability and longevity-testing with our partners, ensuring customers have a seamless and high quality experience with Alexa,” the Amazon blog said.

Amazon now also has 30,000 “Works with Alexa” devices customers can select from to create personalized smart home experiences. That means Matter devices are designed to work seamlessly alongside existing smart home devices.

Matter is expected to make a significant difference for many thousands of developers building smart devices for both homes and industrial settings. As such Amazon described a way to simplify Matter setup in the Matter SDK and a Commissionable Endpoint API, first described at CES 2022 in January.

In July, Amazon announced its Alexa Connect Kit SDK for Matter as well.

In its announcement of the first phase of Matter with Alexa, Amazon listed 25 companies that are part of the Works with Alexa program, including major chipmakers and microcontroller producers such as Texas Instruments and Silicon Labs. The developer portal for Matter with Alexa is online.

Related: Amazon layoffs could boost third-party hardware for Alexa, analyst says

Both Amazon and Google were a founding members of the Matter specification. In November, Amazon said it wants to bring Matter to more than 100 million devices across 30 Echo and eero devices.

Samsung and NXP are among companies that have announced Matter-related products for smart building interoperability and security.

Matter 1.0 was released Oct. 4 by the Connectivity Standards Alliance after three years of development involving 280 companies focused on making IoT simpler to use and more security.