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Interview CINO Jürgen Pansy: “Matter is the strongest initiative in the smart home sector to date”

Nuki News 05.09.2023 | Nuki

This autumn, the Matter connectivity standard is really picking up speed: More and more smart home manufacturers are joining the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), and more and more Matter-capable devices are coming onto the market. As a smart home fan and Nuki user, would you like to be able to have your say on the subject and be compatible when it comes to the basis of conversation? Then you should at least have answers to these ten questions. Here you can get them from our Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder Jürgen Pansy himself.


1. The all-important question at the very beginning: Why was it necessary to create the Matter connection standard in the first place?

JÜRGEN PANSY: That has to do with the fact that the variety of providers of smart home systems has simply increased constantly. On one hand, there are the big players such as Apple, Amazon and Google, but everything else has also diversified steadily. If a device worked with Apple HomeKit, for example, that didn’t mean it would work with Amazon Alexa. In the field of home automation, it has been a great challenge to find devices that are compatible with the current smart home systems. With Matter, this annoying search will be history: The standard creates a uniform basis for controlling devices from different systems and the activation is as simple as scanning a barcode.

2. In connection with Matter, there is always talk of language and communication channels. What is this all about?

PANSY: Matter is a universal language designed to enable smart home devices to connect and communicate with each other, regardless of brand and model. However, you also need a communication channel through which this language is conveyed. One possible communication channel is Thread. It is an extremely efficient mesh network with a large range, similar to Wi-Fi, and high energy efficiency to boot.

3. When something is activated as easily and quickly as by scanning a barcode, it is just as easy and quick to get the impression that security is not all that great. How secure is Matter?

PANSY: With Matter, security experts from many well-known companies such as Apple and Google have ensured that state-of-the-art security mechanisms are used. After all, Matter is a local integration. The devices communicate locally via hubs. This means that security-relevant data never leaves the house or apartment. This security aspect has always been extremely important to us at Nuki. That’s why the standard fits so perfectly to our brand and our products: Nuki is smart, simple and secure – and so is Matter.

4. The standard was created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). Hundreds of larger and smaller manufacturers are now following suit – and the number is growing. Do you consider it the most powerful bridge of its kind in the smart home industry to date?

PANSY: By now, the CSA already has 620 members. But it is not merely because of this impressive number that I consider it by far the largest and strongest initiative of its kind ever. The decisive factor is that all the big companies that offer terminals are on board and pulling in the same direction. The initiative is also so strong because it brings both sides together: Front-end users and the individual companies with their applications and devices.

5. As much as the initiative is picking up speed right now: In your opinion, has Matter perhaps been too slow to gain momentum in the meantime?

PANSY: One could easily get that impression. Some manufacturers have withdrawn themselves and their products again. Many underestimated how complex the topic is. I have to admit that I was no different at the start. The standard requirements that have to be met are simply very high. You need new, more powerful hardware and go through specific certifications and test tracks. This is much more time-consuming and expensive than many had imagined. It also takes much longer than end customers would believe. In some cases, the standard contains even more complexity than is necessary, for example, for security reasons.

6. Why is it so important for a manufacturer to be part of it? Why is it so important for Nuki to be part of the Matter movement?

PANSY: We have been contributing our expertise to the CSA since the beginning of 2022 and can proudly say that we are actively working on the Matter standardization with many major players in the industry. Since the foundation of Nuki, we have been pioneers for smart home in general and for Smart Locks in particular. We would not live up to our reputation if we were not so actively involved in the matter movement. Nuki has always been a pioneer when it comes to integration in smart home systems. Our Smart Lock is compatible with the most significant smart home brands. From our point of view, however, Matter represents an additional contribution to providing smart access to one’s own home as simple and as secure as possible for our customers. That’s why we want to actively participate in this project and integrate Matter into our ecosystem. So for us, it is not only important to be part of Matter – it would have been unthinkable not to be.

7. The development of the Matter standard originated in the US, the headquarters of industry giants like Google or Apple are also located there. How do you see the role of Nuki as a European company in this US-dominated structure?

PANSY: You have to know that locks are different in the US, where the Matter initiative originated. US locks have only two functions: Unlocking and locking. European models, however, almost always have a knob on the outside and offer a latch to keep the door closed without locking it. As a European company, the interests of our European users are of course particularly close to our hearts. That is why we are pushing for the support of European door locks in the standard created by the CSA and are campaigning for European customers.

8. It is one thing to stand up for something or someone, it is another to bring about concrete change. Has there already been a first success in this direction?

PANSY: Yes, there is indeed one – and quite recently at that. Through our active participation in the CSA, we were able to obtain the additional function of “Opening a door without pulling the latch” and thus further improve the support for European doors. Without Nuki, this function, which is quite often requested in Europe, would probably not be part of the new Matter range expected for this autumn. And this is not only beneficial for our users, but for the entire Matter ecosystem as well.

9. How big do you think Matter can become? What is your vision for the initiative?


PANSY: Digitalization itself is still a long way from being complete. Therefore, nothing speaks against the fact that many products becoming smart will not also be Matter-compatible. Their number will probably be far greater than we currently imagine. There will be many new types, options and additional functions. Due to Matter and the common language for smart home devices, a decisive hurdle has already been taken; and there will be much more growth and development over the years.


10. Finally, a little less long-term vision and a more short-term outlook: When can we expect to see Matter-compatible devices from Nuki?

PANSY: In October 2022, we presented the first prototype of a Smart Lock with Matter support. At that time, we announced that Matter-compatible devices could be expected from us in the second half of 2023. And I can assure you: We are working hard to let actions follow these words.

Last fall we already created a Matter prototype. In this demo video you can see how the Nuki Smart Lock, an Apple HomePod, a Google Nest Hub, an iPhone and an Android smartphone communicate with each other via Matter.


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