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Samsung and Google make their smart home gizmos even more interoperable

Consumer electronic giant Samsung and big tech leviathan Google are nailing down some of the promises made through Matter, the IoT connectivity standard backed by tech’s heavy hitters.

Samsung and Google have entered into an ‘extended partnership’ on smart home interoperability, which generally means their various gadgets should work together better, and more specifically means Samsung Galaxy phone and tablet users will be able to onboard Matter-compatible devices to both the SmartThings and Google Home ecosystems.

Matter is a collaborative project launched in 2019 by Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung SmartThings and the Zigbee Alliance, initially called Project Connected Home over IP – or CHIP. The idea is devices and software regardless of manufacturer can communicate on a specific set of IP-based networking technologies, creating a kind of device certification. The idea is to make it easier for smart speakers, TVs, doorbells, fridges, toasters, and whatever to more easily connect together, seemingly in response to the fact it all gets a bit of a pain when manufacturers go their own way in an effort to own the entire space.

When users go into the Samsung SmartThings app, they will apparently be made aware of Matter devices that have been set up with Google Home and will be able to easily onboard those devices to SmartThings, and vice-versa. This means users won’t have to manually add each of their devices or work out which ecosystem their device has been set up on first, we’re told.

“As the largest Android developer, Samsung values its strong partnership with Google,” said Jaeyeon Jung, Corporate Vice President and Head of SmartThings, Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung.  “Providing users with greater flexibility through this new multi-admin feature is a natural progression in our evolution as partners, allowing us to better support our massive existing and potential user base with both Samsung and Google products.

“Both SmartThings and Google are committed to user choice and giving consumers the power to control their own devices. This collaboration furthers that commitment by enhancing the user experience and promoting transparency between ecosystems.”

Matthew McCullough, Vice President, Product Management, Android Developer from Google added: “With the launch of Matter, we understand there will be new expectations, when it comes to smart home connectivity. We are proud to partner with Samsung Electronics to offer new and existing smart home users their first glimpse into what the future of the smart home looks like and the ease of use that comes with it.”

While what taking ‘smart home interoperability to the next level’ as the announcement puts it means beyond ‘these gadgets work together’ isn’t obvious, it is at least an acknowledgment of one the chief obstacles the smart home has always had – having different walled garden ecosystems is a bummer if you are a consumer and don’t want to stick with products from just one firm.

Really that seemed to be the entire point of Matter anyway, so what this provides on top may amount to the technical application of the pledges made by that group of firms when it was announced. Any move that makes it easier for different IoT gadgets to work together should remove some of those aforementioned barriers, though of course the way these firms describe it you’d think they’d developed some form of AI telekinesis.

Really for these things to be properly mass market people will just want to know they can pick up one of these smart device and it won’t be a pain to get it working, or they might conclude they can forgo the purchase of an internet enabled stapler in these cash strapped times.

 

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