Marja Koopmans has spent her career assembling the building blocks for a smart home where devices as different as smart speakers, plugs, lights, vacuum cleaners, thermostats, and TVs talk to each other; perform tasks and chores; and make life easier and more efficient for their owners.
It’s no surprise that Koopmans, who serves as the director of health and smart home at Amazon, lives in a smart home, and that many of the devices she owns were built by Amazon. However, she is quick to point out that no single company can pull off the vision of a “home that works for you” by itself.
Amazon embraces that vision. "It's not an easy job, stitching together all these different experiences with all these different devices and brands, but we think that's best for customers. That's why we do the hard work,” Koopmans said. “We provide more value to customers faster by working together."
That’s why Amazon became a founding member and important contributor to Matter, a smart home standard that aims to make smart home devices made by different brands work together.
Matter began to roll out to devices across the smart home industry last month, and at a launch celebration in Amsterdam, Amazon announced plans to bring Matter to Amazon devices, as well as important Matter partnerships with other device makers. The new standard has the potential to resolve several issues smart home customers and developers experience.
More compatibility, less hassle
Matter aims to reduce the need for device makers to build different versions of their products for different smart home systems. This could enable them to focus more on innovating on behalf of customers and less on ensuring their devices can connect properly to different systems, which is a frustration many customers experience today.
No customer wants to buy a smart device, only to find that it is not compatible with their preferred smart home system. Matter could help resolve compatibility issues so that customers can focus on finding and purchasing the products and features they need.
The idea is that when customers buy a Matter-compatible device, they'll have the confidence it will work with the devices and smart home systems already in their homes.
Ensuring a quality experience
While Matter is a hugely exciting development, it takes time to implement this standard in over 100 million Amazon devices, said Koopmans. That’s why she emphasized that Amazon will focus on delivering a high-quality customer experience starting with Matter over Wi-Fi to select Echo devices and Amazon smart Plugs, Switches, and Bulbs with Android setup this year, before expanding to more operating systems, smart home products, and devices in the future.
Customers can already mix and match more than 30,000 devices with the Works with Alexa badge (WWA), which gives them confidence that the device has been tested and certified to work with Alexa. These devices use a wide spectrum of wireless protocols including WiFi, Zigbee, and Bluetooth Low Energy. Soon Matter will join them.
Together with the Matter announcement, Amazon introduced new WWA certification requirements for Matter devices. They will help support innovation and choice, and improve the reliability and functionality of connected devices. Read the full Matter update from Koopmans.
The promise of the smart home
Ben Wood, chief analyst and CMO at CCS Insight, said the news reports that Amazon is making it easier for device makers to build products that work together and simpler for consumers to create smart homes with products that are useful for their everyday lives. “The Matter standard sees the industry sharing a goal to enable a more seamless experience, which if successful, will fuel the next wave of growth in smart home technology,” Wood said.
“By working together across the industry, I think we are better able to provide value to customers and to deliver on the promise of the smart home.” Koopmans said. “The smart home should be one that saves you time, effort, and energy while helping you feel more secure and connected. By working to ensure the convenient and increasingly consistent compatibility between smart home devices from numerous brands, Matter is a big step on Amazon’s journey to deliver on that promise.”