Combine Matter with the Latest Sensors for a Secure Smart Home

By Steve Hanna

Distinguished Engineer, Connected Secure Systems Div.


By Steve Robbins

Principal Field Applications Engineer: RADAR, Sensors, & RF at Infineon Technologies

June 22, 2022

Sponsored Story

Matter matters. If you’re a designer/developer of smart-home products, you know exactly what we’re referring to. For those unfamiliar, Matter is a standard that’s aimed at the smart-home market, with the end goal of providing smart-home products that are secure, reliable, and seamless to use.

Matter enables interoperable communications across smart-home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services from a variety of companies using a specific set of proven IP-based networking technologies. For developers, Matter results in a secure IoT ecosystem, allowing the focus to remain on developing innovative products and accelerating paths to market. For consumers, Matter is the seal of approval that establishes that smart devices work reliably together, simplifying the purchasing experience. For retailers, Matter is the reliable IoT compatibility standard that expands smart-home sales and lowers operational costs due to customer concerns.

That said, many people don’t realize that, for the developer, Matter is actually a platform for innovation, similar to the impact of the TCP/IP standards that were created some 40 years ago. By providing a common and widely agreed upon set of interoperable standards and open-source code for the basics—sending information from one device to another, regardless of what network type you have—the standard lets you focus on the innovation built on top of that.

Matter Adds Value

While Matter may, and likely will, result in commoditization at the low end for products like light bulbs, it’s really an opportunity for manufacturers to focus on adding unique value. For example, you could add sensors to that light bulb, such as a MEMS microphone and pressure sensor, to detect window-glass breaking, thereby turning your light bulb into one arm of a home alarm system. Many of the current glass-break detection systems are based solely on audio, and they can be easily fooled by somebody dropping a drinking glass or even opening a drawer filled with silverware.

Sensors used in smart homes have come a long way, far beyond simple temperature readings and motion detection. For example, using RADAR technology, it’s possible to detect the presence of people in a room, even if they are sitting very still, to keep lights on without hand waving. RADAR is sensitive enough to detect the slightest movements, such as breathing or even heartbeats. Another example is the capability of Time-of-Flight (ToF) arrays that can be used for secure authentication from a distance of more than a meter, with a similar confidence level as fingerprint analysis.

Inferencing capabilities based on the data gathered from multiple sensors can be combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to reach conclusions with higher accuracy and fewer false positives than single sensors alone. Depending on the application, and more importantly, the need for real-time responses, the computations could be handled at the edge, the cloud, or both.

There are numerous examples where this added intelligence can add more than just convenience, but also system reliability, economic savings, and safety. HVAC systems can take advantage of sensor-based smart presence detection and predictive maintenance for reduced costs and less down time. White-goods repair can be scheduled at convenient times before they break down. Medical systems can be developed to be safer and more reliable. Refrigerators can even be outfitted with sensors to know the contents and identify a person approaching, so it can display a customized menu from the available ingredients, or even restrict certain foods for children or adults with special dietary needs.

Security Reigns Supreme

When it comes to security, Matter is defined by five principles: comprehensive, strong, easy to use, resilient, and agile. Comprehensive security means using a layered approach with authentication and attestation for commissioning, protecting every message, and securing over-the-air firmware updates. Strong security takes advantage of the latest techniques, including cryptography, unique device identity, and certificates.

Ease of use refers to both the OEMs and consumers, making the end devices easier to manufacture and easier to use. Matter security must be resilient so that devices can protect, detect, and recover. And finally, products must be agile and adaptable for the simple reason that the hackers themselves are quite agile. For this reason, Matter must and will continue to evolve with new technologies.

Help From Infineon

To help solve these issues and simplify integration of the Matter protocol, Infineon offers a series of products that fit the categories of reliability, control and compute, actuate, connect, and sense. For example, the company’s AIROC Wi-Fi & Combos portfolio includes a broad family of secure, robust solutions that come from over 20 years of field-proven experience as well as widely deployed wireless IP. Infineon’s Matter-supported MCUs boast low power and high performance and feature support for HMI, sensing, display, AI, and security.

The AIROC Bluetooth LE and 802.15.4 family will support the upcoming Matter standard. Specifically, the AIROC CYW30739 SoC is a reliable, secure and scalable solution to connect low-power smart-home devices. The combination of complementary Bluetooth LE and 802.15.4 protocols offers seamless interoperability, while enabling end-to-end encrypted communication between individual devices in a Matter network. In addition, developers can accelerate the deployment of products based on Matter by accessing Infineon’s open-source Matter repository, and by using the ModusToolbox software and tools.

On the sensor side, Infineon offers a series of millimeter-wave RADAR sensors for IoT, as part of its XENSIV™ sensor family, which includes Doppler and FMCW devices. The sensors serve a wide range of industrial and consumer applications, including those in the smart home.

These Matter-compliant sensors allow for easy user interactions with all types of smart devices with the highest levels of accuracy and reliability. This family is one example of devices that will support the upcoming Matter specification. Learn more about Infineon and its support for Matter.

At Sensors Converge 2022, Steve Robbins will lead a conference session entitled “Combining Different Sensors to Support HVAC Predictive Maintenance,” and Steve Hanna will be speaking on “The Matter Standard – Raising the Bar for Smart Home.” Both sessions will be held on Wednesday, June 29th at 10:10 am PT and 2:35 pm PT, respectively. More details here.

Senior architect. Visionary leader in networking and security. Expert at catalyzing industry-wide change. Frequent speaker at leading conferences such as RSA and Interop. Author of numerous technical papers and standards including IETF RFCs 2730 and 5793 and Trusted Computing Group IF-IMC and IF-IMV. Member of IETF's Security Area Directorate. Holder of 43 U.S. patents.

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