New Tech Tuesdays: Matter Is Poised to Standardize Development of
 
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New Tech Tuesdays: Matter Is Poised to Standardize Development of Smart-Home Devices Tommy Cummings

New Tech Tuesdays

Join journalist Tommy Cummings for a weekly look at all things interesting, new, and noteworthy for design engineers.

Matter can matter. Matter is a new unified IP based connectivity smart home wireless standard that will seamlessly help us connect and build reliable Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems for the future.

With this unifying technology, developers can focus on developing innovative products and speed up their time to market.

It's not fully here yet. The first generation of devices designed for the Matter smart home standard should launch sometime in late 2022, barring any delays.

For anyone who's tried to network their smart-home devices together, this is music to their ears. Not only do new setups become a breeze, but it also helps developers design a single universal smart home environment that simply works. We all want that.

And even better news: The Matter protocol standard has significant potential staying power. More manufacturers, knowing Matter will soon arrive, are supporting Matter development, meaning consumers can work on slowly building out their smart homes knowing they'll be better integrated.

In this week's New Tech Tuesday, we'll look at development products from Nordic Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, and Texas Instruments that test a range of Thread devices.

Develop Matter with these Kits

The Nordic Semiconductor nRF5340 Development Kit develops the nRF5340 System on Chip (SoC) on a single board using a wide range of wireless protocols. Developers can test lighting, wearables, medical and smart home devices, asset trackers, real-time locating systems, and LE audio. Mesh protocols such as BLUETOOTH® mesh, Thread, and Zigbee® can run concurrently with Bluetooth LE, enabling smartphones to provision, commission, configure, and control mesh nodes. The kit includes a Near Field Communication (NFC) antenna that enables testing of nRF5340’s NFC-A tag peripheral. A SEGGER J-Link debugger is also on the board, which allows full-blown programming and debugging of both the nRF5340 SoC and external targets.

Silicon Labs MGM111 Mighty Gecko Modules are focused on mesh networking applications with support for ZigBee and Thread software. The MGM11 modules and wireless SoCs have similar technical features and application programming interfaces (APIs). This hardware and software compatibility makes it easier to migrate from modules to SoCs, enabling developers to preserve their investments in tools and software with little to no system redesign. The module’s combination of onboard stacks, antenna options, and radio frequency regulatory certifications helps developers reduce cost, complexity, and time to market for an array of mesh networking applications including home and building automation, connected lighting, smart metering, security systems, and other IoT platforms.

Texas Instruments LAUNCHXL-CC1352P Multiband CC1352P Wireless MCU LaunchPad™ Development Kit tests CC1352P and CC2652P devices with multi-band radio support for concurrent 2.4GHz and sub-1GHz operation. The kit supports protocols that include Bluetooth ® Low Energy, Sub-1 GHz, Thread, Zigbee®, and 802.15.4 with the compatible CC13x2-CC26x2 SDK. The kit also has available LaunchPad variations that feature different RF matching networks on the 20dBm PA output port. These include the LAUNCHXL-CC1352P1 with 868/915MHz up to 20dBm and 2.4GHz up to 5dBm. The LAUNCHXL-CC1352P-2 has 868/915MHz up to 14dBm and 2.4GHz up to 20dBm, which can be used to support both CC1352P and CC2652P. To get started, developers should first acquire the CC1352P LaunchPad, download the CC13x2 SDK, and finally take the CC13x2 SimpleLink Academy training.

Tuesday's Takeaway

When Matter does arrive, it will be a welcome technology. It will help developers focus on building innovative connected products and accelerating paths to market. Having Matter-certified devices means, ideally, they'll work in harmony alongside one another, standardizing smart home environments and making setups easier.



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Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.


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