On our most recent IoT podcast, Eddie called in with an industrial IoT, or IIoT, question. He’s wondering if the new Matter protocol that will make many smart homes devices from different ecosystems work together is coming to the IIoT?
The short answer is no, or at least not any time soon if ever. The longer answer explains why.
For starters, Matter only supports two wireless radio protocols for now: Thread and Wi-Fi. Both of these enable devices to communicate directly with the internet. In a smart home, that’s not a bad thing. But for industrial devices such as production lines and public infrastructure? You really don’t want a direct connection to the internet in cases like that for security reasons. Instead, you have the devices protected behind firewalls or on managed connections to gateway devices for remote access.
Second, the types of devices that the Matter specification supports are relatively limited. It focuses on connected devices in the smart home such as locks, lights, and switches, for example. Eventually, it will also support building management in commercial locations for similar devices.
If you have a smart home you may find the number of connected things in your home is overwhelming. And it can be from a consumer perspective. It’s nothing, however, compared to the sheer scope of industrial machines. There you might find actuators, cameras, pressure plates, robotics, and many, many more device types.
In its current form, Matter isn’t really designed to support this broad swath of connected things for the IIoT. Instead, it’s focused narrowly on the smart home.
To be clear, there are plenty of IIoT standards and platforms to manage connected devices in an industrial setting, already. Even if there isn’t “one to rule them all”, large organizations have choices that offer increased security and low latency. Proprietary solutions based on BACnet, HART, SCADA and WirelessHART are all suited for IIoT use cases today.
To hear Eddie’s question, as well as our discussion in full on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: