What’s the Matter with digital trust in smart home devices?

Only a decade ago it may have been hard to imagine how digital and connected many of our home features would become. From thermostats to speakers to refrigerators that can all be controlled with voice commands or from a phone, many homes today are now “smart homes,” relying on connected devices that allow for convenient access, even when we are not physically inside our residence.

Matter smart home standard

Revenue in the smart home market is projected to reach $115.70 billion dollars this year and forecasted to growth 13.97% through 2026 with a projected market volume of $195.20 billion in three years. The number of active households is expected to amount to 573.7 million users by 2026. Household penetration will be 14.2% in 2022 and is expected to hit 25.0% by 2026.

Clearly, smart homes are here to stay, and the market has plenty of growth yet to be realized. But with so many manufacturers and devices to choose from, the smart home landscape is often a mishmash of support and usability. It’s confusing to figure out which product works with others. Compatible options can be limited, depending on which manufacturer you choose. And, regardless of which devices consumers choose, they are stuck with only a small portion of compatible devices that work with their platform of choice. Simply put, until now, the lack of a unifying standard among various smart home technology standards made using devices together complicated and difficult.

Enter Matter, a smart home standard and common language for smart home devices to communicate. The objective of Matter is to simplify the market and enable smart home devices to work with each other across platforms. This new standard was developed by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (Alliance) and will enable consumers to simplify their connected homes and manage it all from a single voice assistant of their choice.

Matter is a new standard with global implications and brings together the connected device industry. Some of the most well-known names in smart home technology, including Google, Apple, Amazon and Samsung are all on board with Matter, which is positioned to be a win for both consumers and manufacturers in the industry.

What manufacturers need to be Matter compliant

Manufactures of connected devices do not want to wait to become Matter compliant. Compliant device manufacturers can issue the Matter logo on their devices so that customers can trust it to connect seamlessly and securely with their favorite products. It will undoubtedly become the standard consumers look for when they shop for connected home devices, so it is critical to ensure your device offerings are compliant now.

Matter raises the bar for device security by requiring a handful of best practices. It provides a foundation for better security in several ways, including validation of each device, strong device identity to maintain trust, secure communications, secure software updates, and verification of the software’s integrity. To accomplish this, Matter will rely on public key infrastructure (PKI), a long-time standard for achieving digital trust. Matter devices will have a unique identifier and will work with certificates that verify the device type and brand. The certificate data will be stored on a secure enclave, which is a protected, secure chip. Matter-certified devices will also secure communications by leveraging encryption.

Working with the members of the Connectivity Standards Alliance over the last three years, DigiCert helped develop the Device Attestation aspect of the Matter protocol which leverages PKI to ensure identity and trust. The foundation of interoperability and trust for the Matter protocol is shared roots of trust, or product attestation authorities (PAA) that are securely created and managed by appropriate parties. Once these trusted PAAs are established, product attestation intermediates (PAI) are created and inherit the trustworthiness of the root.

Every compliant member of Matter is required to have a PAI that is signed by the PAA. From these intermediates, device attestation certificates (DAC) are created, one for every device. These certificates also inherit the trustworthiness of the root and intermediate. Managing this certificate infrastructure requires robust capabilities for automation, provisioning, traceability, and reporting. A certificate management platform can help wrangle this complex process.

Having the right tools in place to achieve Matter compliance means manufacturers can focus on what they do best: building smart devices. Working with the right partners to deploy scalable PKI products and services can accelerate your time to market and achieve compliance that will position your company and products as ready for the smart home market of the future.

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