The Matter Standard: Altering the Scope of Smart Home Connectivity

24.08.2022 I Steve Hanna, Distinguished Engineer, Infineon Americas

World-changing work takes the effort of many. Though oftentimes, large-scale projects are launched thanks to the advocacy of a driven individual, such as with Steve Hanna, a Distinguished Engineer (CSS) who was the lead advocate for Infineon’s involvement in the Matter Standard.

Now, we’re making the smart home easier and more secure. With the support of hundreds of major companies and Steve’s IoT security expertise, Infineon is making smart home technology simpler for manufacturers and more secure for consumers. For a better understanding of the project, we asked Steve to share details about the Matter Standard’s purpose, inception, and Steve’s unique contributions throughout.

What Is the Matter Standard?

How convenient would it be to seamlessly connect any smart home device to your house, with one easy step?

This is just a simplified version of all that Matter Standard will accomplish. Along with over 400 other companies, all within the smart home industry, Infineon set out to establish a single set of standards for smart home interoperability. In short, these standards will enable secure and nearly automatic smart home compatibility for consumers.

Two organizations that made the standard feasible are Connectivity Standards Alliance, an industry association, and Infineon, with Steve leading much of the project’s IoT security work. And while there are always challenges with malware and hacking, Steve makes the project’s importance clear.

We’re raising the bar for smart home security, higher than it’s ever been, and making it far easier for companies to develop new products. I’m confident that the work I’m doing on Matter standards will be the most impactful work of my career.

The Inception of the Matter Standard

Every few years, Connectivity Standards Alliance brings around 25 smart home visionaries and leaders together for an annual conference called HIVE. Over the course of two days, these visionaries touch on the biggest issues faced by the smart home industry, as well as how to overcome them.

During the 2017 conference, attendants identified interoperability and security as the two largest industry hurdles and brainstormed solutions. According to Steve, this is when Matter began: “The group realized we needed a single unifying standard that could work with all kinds of smart home devices - and it had to be simple, reliable, and secure.”

The result of this insight was the creation of Project CHIP (Connected Home Over IP), which was later renamed to Matter. Getting other major companies to adopt the technology took time, but many eventually jumped on board, with others even bringing their own intellectual property to advance the project to a feasible stage.


Steve’s Unique Contributions

From the start, Infineon supported Steve’s initiative with the Matter Standard. This shows that Infineon employees are empowered to develop and propose their big ideas. While most organizations take a top-down approach to launching major initiatives, Steve is a shining example of how Infineon allows its teams to pursue their unique visions and ideas. In short, if you have a great idea, Infineon will back it.

Since work began on the Matter Standard, Steve has led the security team with his wealth of IoT knowledge. He was the lead advocate directly after joining the Matter Standards effort, playing a key role in getting Infineon involved from the start.

In fact, Steve was the one who wrote up the project proposal, suggested that Infineon join, and ensured that the company was present at the initial Matter Standards meeting. Steve received approval from his managers within weeks, with funding released a few weeks later. Thanks to his past experience with startups, seeking funding came naturally to Steve. And Infineon’s management backed Steve’s ambitious vision for Matter security, even though it went far beyond what was currently possible.

With the change that Matter promises, Steve is positive that his contributions to the project will be among the largest in his career. It’s not every day you change the world with your work, after all.

If you’re never going to change anything, you’re never going to make the world a better place.

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