Matter is echoing with Amazon

All good things come in threes: After Google and Apple, Amazon has now also officially confirmed its support for the Matter smart home standard. At the Alexa Live developer conference, the company announced an initial list of compatible devices. According to this, almost the entire Echo model family will work with the upcoming Matter products:

  • Echo
  • Echo Dot
  • Echo Studio
  • Echo Flex
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Show

Amazon did not say which device generations are involved in detail, but hinted that older models might not be included. There were also differences in the presentations: While Aaron Rubenson, vice president of Alexa voice services, had the normal Echo and the Echo Flex socket model in his keynote, there was no mention of either in a later developer presentation. It is quite possible that the final decisions have not even been made yet.

Aaron Rubenson, vice president Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Skills, announced Matter support at the developer conference.

As with competitors Apple and Google, a software update in the fall will bring the new standard to the Echos. This will give Alexa control over Matter products and enable it to control them. In order for the communication to run locally via the home network – as desired by Matter – developers can add some JavaScript code to their Alexa Skill. The Echo then uses a local connection instead of routing commands over Amazon’s Web Service (AWS) on the Internet.

This works similarly to Zigbee or Bluetooth lights logged directly into an Echo with a smart home hub. However, Matter does not work with Zigbee. And Bluetooth is only included in it as a tool for setting up new devices so far. In order to be able to control Matter products via Echo, they must be accessible in the IP network – via WLAN, LAN or via a bridge, as is the case with Philips Hue. Unless Amazon pulls an Echo with an integrated Thread protocol out of the hat. It could be a counterpart to Apple’s HomePod mini or Google’s Nest Hub. However, nothing is known about such a product yet.

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