A Matter controller acts as your smart home hub, managing communications with other devices and setting up routines and automations. It takes care of matters over Wi-Fi, ethernet or Thread. It might be a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo or Google Nest Hub Max, a router such as the Samsung SmartThings Router or a digital display and appliance like an Apple TV or Samsung Family Hub refrigerator. It could also be a bridge or hub from companies that make Zigbee-based devices such as Philips Hue (Signify) and Aqara (which is upgrading its M1S and M2 hubs to Matter), and it could be a third-party app that supports Matter like Samsung SmartThings, the TP-Link Tapo app or the Aqara app.

Most existing smart devices should be able to come to Matter via a bridge or hub that will update to support the protocol. Smart speakers and routers from the big four — Amazon, Google, Apple and Samsung SmartThings — already have plans to become Matter controllers, as does a smart light bulb maker called Nanoleaf. Bridges from companies that previously used Zigbee, such as GE Cync and Eve’s earlier security and sensor products, will be able to upgrade to Matter over time, as well.

Unlike other smart home protocols that use cloud-based software to run their services, Matter is a local protocol that doesn’t depend on the internet. That means it can operate even without a power source. However, it does require a device with an integrated microphone to act as a voice assistant that can control your other devices through routines and automations. matter residences

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