Will set up Matter lab in India if demand increases: CSA CEO

NEW DELHI, TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES, APPLE, AMAZON, GOOGLE : In 2019, big tech companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google, who otherwise strive to lock users into their own ecosystems, made an unprecedented decision. Hundreds of companies have come together to create a universal smart home standard, which would simplify smart homes and make them available across multiple ecosystems like iOS, Android, and Alexa. The standard, called Matter, launched earlier this week with partners including Amazon, LG, Samsung and Ikea. In an interview, Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which created Matter, explained how a single standard is meant to become a common thread for smart devices around the world. Edited excerpts:

How many companies does Matter currently work with and how many products are there on the market?

As an alliance, we worked with approximately 550 companies to develop an interoperability standard. The standard took three years to develop.

On October 4, the day we launched the specification for the standard, we had approximately 108 products that were tested against our standard.

By the time we launched Matter 1.0, that number had grown to 190, and today we have at least 238 certified smart homes and connected devices under our network.

Why are Big Tech platforms looking to open access now?

Even large tech companies today see the limits of a closed ecosystem. While each of these companies continues to see growth of their own smart home products, they wouldn’t be at the same scale that they can potentially see with a standards-based approach.

Will it benefit small businesses that don’t have the same means as big tech companies?

Even if a brand has two engineers, they must be able to use our software development kit (SDK), as well as our partner relationships, to move from concept to product.

It also helps set a quality bar that you expect from a smart device, so that it’s no longer just a low-cost device, but one that meets a standard.

More than 3,000 engineers from 280 companies participated and provided technical support to develop the Matter standard.

For small businesses, it is nearly impossible to access such a breadth of technical support on their own.

How does the validation process work and what options do companies have in India?

There are several ways, depending on the size and level of the candidate company. Suppliers can seek partners within the Matter network, negotiate their terms and find their own common ground.

We then have one of the accredited testing labs to test the products, which then relays to the CSA, and the product is certified accordingly. We also have a mechanism if a company finishes a product and seeks to white label it for other brands to sell, which can bring a wide variety of new products to new markets where adoption is still low. We have nine authorized labs at the moment, and we have selected 18 different locations to facilitate these labs.

We don’t have any in India at the moment, and we are working on it at the moment. In Asia, we have one in China.

The configuration of these labs is based on demand, and we expect larger capacities to be rolled out over time. I can’t specify a timeline right now, but as market demand grows in different regions, we will help set up more facilities accordingly.

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