Amazon might not be participating in-person at CES 2022 – however, we are excited to make important announcements that allow brands, device makers, and developers to create entirely new and differentiated voice-forward experiences for their customers. The new updates announced today will enable your devices to work seamlessly with smart home products, help your customers to setup devices in seconds and lots more.
Here is a roundup of the most important announcements.
We are making it easier for developers and partners to build across multiple device standards and protocols — including Matter, and integrate deeply with Amazon’s Alexa-enabled products.
Last year, we announced that Matter is coming to most Echo devices. This includes most Echo, Echo Dots, Echo Plus, Echo Studio, and Echo Show devices. We wanted to make sure that we are ready when you are, to enable your customers to control your Matter devices with their voice from their Echos. We also announced that our existing Echo devices would receive a software update so that they can start commissioning and controlling Matter devices soon after the Matter SDK is ready. We increased our commitment for Matter Thread devices by joining the Thread Group as a board member. And finally, we announced that the Echo 4th generation will be a Thread border router, while also continuing to be a Zigbee hub. Today’s announcement is a continuation of our goal to support a broad range of smart home protocols, which benefits both you and your customers.
Today, we are excited to share that Frustration-Free Setup documentation is now available for device makers to review and that leading brands are working with us to deliver a great setup experience for their customers. Customers will be able to purchase a Matter device and easily setup and control it with an existing Amazon Echo easily. These enhancements are part of Amazon’s ongoing support for Matter as a unified connectivity standard that is adopted by leading brands and built for the future with privacy and interoperability in mind.
With today’s announcements we are increasing choice for you and your customers. In terms of compatibility, Alexa has always focused on choice - for device makers and for customers. For device makers, we support most popular protocols from Echo devices, including WiFi, BLE Mesh, Zigbee, and now Matter. This reduces the number of hardware systems that device makers need to support in order to reach the largest number of customers.
For customers, we provide badges like Works With Alexa (WWA) and Certified for Humans (CFH) to make it easy for them to know what devices will work for them. Here’s a roundup of all the Matter related announcements we launched at CES.
We wanted to find ways to make it easy for customers to set-up their smart home devices. That's why, in 2018, we launched Frustration-Free Setup, an Amazon program that enables device makers to incorporate technology to make device setup as easy for customers as powering on a device.
Last year, we committed to bringing the ease of Frustration-Free Setup to Matter. We made sure that all of the functionality a device would need to implement Frustration-Free Setup was in the first version of the Matter specification so that device makers would not need to configure custom code or SDKs into their devices. Documentation for how to ensure features like Frustration-Free Setup that work great with Alexa are enabled in your Matter device have been released here. For more information, you can contact us here. (Link to form on page).
We’re already working with leading brands like eWeLink, Ledvance, Sengled, TP-Link, Tuya, and Lifx to launch Frustration-Free Setup on Matter-certified devices, allowing them to offer their customers a faster and a much simpler setup experience. Device makers can deploy Frustration-Free Setup on their Matter-certified devices with the Matter SDK— no Amazon-specific SDK is required.
Devices that support Frustration-Free Setup are available on Amazon.com today, and later this year we will be expanding Frustration-Free Setup to devices sold through other retailers. Eligible customers will be able to setup devices easily without having to remember or manually re-enter Wi-Fi passwords and Thread credentials.
The Matter specification includes a feature called “Multi-Admin” which allows a single Matter device to be controlled by multiple smart home systems at the same time. This means that customers no longer need to choose a single system to directly control smart home devices in their home. This new feature delivers on what our customers have been requesting - that they want the ability to mix and match the best devices and smart home systems, and control all of them using Alexa.
Today, many devices get setup first using a custom app. Sometimes the app is developed by the device maker. Apps are also frequently developed by a smart home system companies, such as a home security vendor or a lighting system. These apps often provide value to customers by highlighting special features, helping the customer with device configuration or performing service enablement. We expect this trend to continue for many Matter devices.
For these use cases, we have introduced the new Commissionable Endpoint Alexa capability. This capability gives the customer an effortless way to add Alexa as an additional Matter Administrator to a device that is already set up by one of the methods described above. There’s no need to write setup codes, switch between apps, or ask customers to monitor a process before it times out. Commissionable Endpoint can be used to connect Echos and eeros locally to any Matter enabled devices that your skill manages, including Hubs and Bridges.
The Commissionable Endpoint Alexa capability builds upon your existing Alexa Smart Home skill. With Alexa skills, accounts are linked one time - usually through a simple app-to-app account linking process, which typically takes a few clicks.
After using the Commissionable Endpoint capability to add local connectivity for a skill-connected device, Alexa can have multiple paths to the same device - via the cloud skill, and via the local network using Matter. In these cases, Alexa chooses the most appropriate path based on the interaction, and the state of connectivity for each path. Local connectivity will usually be preferred, especially for Local Voice Control interactions, where Alexa responds to customer utterances without using the internet. Local connectivity between an Alexa device and a Matter device also allows Alexa interactions to work with low latency, even when the internet is down.
Commissionable Endpoint also allows you to enlist your custom app for device setup before making Alexa an additional Matter Administrator on the device. This effectively allows a local Echo or eero to deliver the Alexa ambient smart home experience without the need for additional hubs in the home. Brands like Philips Hue and Resideo and many more will provide this new experience for their customers with their Matter enabled devices.
We are excited to announce our collaboration with silicon vendors, including Silicon Labs, Espressif, Beken, Realtek, Nordic, and TI, to support features such as Frustration Free Setup. Many silicon vendors have already begun to develop their Matter offerings, which often include tools and testing environments for their customers that include developers and device makers. This validation work enables Silicon Vendors to market a Matter System on a Chip (SoC) which supports Frustration Free Setup.
Today, the Matter SDK has hundreds of configuration settings and optional features. Alexa’s Matter Support for silicon vendors clarifies how they can take advantage of the features that will drive more value for developers and end customers. It enables silicon vendors to test these configurations with Amazon first so that developers can evaluate and easily implement an SVs Matter offerings with confidence. The end result will be reduced time and effort by OEMs and ODMs to enable the best user experiences, like Frustration Free Setup, on the Matter devices they bring to market.
We look forward to seeing what device makers build in this coming year and we remain committed to simplifying the smart home for our customers by supporting Matter, and other smart home standards. For more information on Matter testing and documentation you contact us directly by filling the sign up form here.