We’ve discussed how Matter has transformed the smart home. Now, Matter or a Matter-like solution can have benefits for smart manufacturing as well. This article takes a closer look.
We’ve discussed how Matter has transformed the smart home
. Now, Matter or a Matter-like solution can have benefits for smart manufacturing as well. This article takes a closer look.
IIoT or the Industrial Internet of Things
has become a hot topic in manufacturing. The concept is also referred to as Industry 4.0 as it’s seen by many as the fourth Industrial Revolution. IIoT is all about factory sensors and the data they generate to increase operations and management efficiency. A machine that is about to fail, for example, can issue an alert to the operator, who can then deal with the situation immediately
However, there are still challenges
associated with IIoT. One of the biggest difficulties is a lack of interoperability among devices. This is due to IIoT sensors and devices being made by different vendors using different standards, a unifier of which is still lacking. In this regard, Matter, or a Matter-like standard, is a viable option to solve this dilemma.
Matter success in smart home
Matter is a new standard for home automation. It’s supported by Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast and the Zigbee Alliance, now the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). The standard has quickly caught on in the smart home sector – ABI Research estimates that between 2022 and the end of the decade, more than 5.5 billion Matter-compliant smart home devices will ship.
What makes Matter special, and ultimately significant, is it’s a unifying standard that enables interoperability among smart home devices of different vendors and brands.
“Matter is important because, perhaps once and for all, it will make connecting devices from any brand or ecosystem seamless for consumers,” said Jack Narcotta, Principal Analyst for Smart Home at Omdia, during an earlier interview with asmag.com. “For example, if one person in a home has an iPhone and their partner uses an Android phone, now both can use Siri, Google Assistant, or the controller app they prefer, to control their smart home. When someone in the home buys a new device, they just plug it in and it ‘just works’ with the rest of their connected devices, with their phone prompting them that a new Matter device or devices has been detected, and walk the person through the process of setting up the new device quickly and securely.”
Matter potential in manufacturing
In a similar manner, Matter or a Matter-like solution can solve non-interoperability issues on the factory floor.
“With the example set by Matter and the comprehensive technology set forth by the IIoT, some very powerful industrial use cases could be unlocked. Specifically, device-to-device interoperability in the IIoT could enable commercial facilities that are truly automated and scalable,” said Mouser Electronics in a blogpost.
“For example, consider an assembly line where an upstream machine assembles a part and sends it to a downstream machine for further assembly. Now consider that the upstream machine fails and begins producing faulty parts. Without device-to-device communication, the downstream machine has no way of knowing about these failures and could continue operating on faulty parts, which risks further compounding the errors and potentially leads to machine damage and lost profits,” the Mouser post said. “Instead, with a factory floor full of interoperable machines, each device can know the status of the other devices and can make insightful decisions accordingly. For example, once aware of the upstream device’s failure, the downstream device could instead cease operations and notify a human operator to intervene. In this way, IIoT device interoperability could enable factories with higher autonomy and less need for human intervention, ultimately leading to greater productivity, reliability, and safety.”
Just like smart home, Matter can also help create an IIoT ecosystem allowing manufacturers to choose equipment or devices from different brands, giving them more flexibility.
“Without a standard like Matter, creating an IIoT ecosystem where devices are interoperable requires employing devices from a single vendor. This makes replacing or adding equipment to a factory floor difficult because limited options exist for factory owners who want to stay within their ecosystem,” the post said. “With a Matter-like solution, factory owners instead have the freedom to choose from any number of suppliers when upgrading or adding functionality to their floors without sacrificing their systems’ cohesion.”
As for concerns that IIoT device interconnectivity may trigger cybersecurity
issues, Matter can solve that problem as well. “Matter sets the gold standard in terms of security. Uniquely, Matter was designed with device security and privacy in mind, consisting of requirements on the device hardware level all the way up to the system level, where the standard incorporates a number of privacy-preserving measures,” the post said. “Privacy-preserving measures are crucial in industrial applications where communicated data are likely proprietary to a company. Hence, Matter also provides a strong example of creating IIoT device interoperability without compromising security."