What’s the Matter with Digital Trust in Smart Home Devices?

Mike Nelson -
What’s the Matter with Digital Trust in Smart Home Devices
Illustration: © IoT For All

Only a decade ago it may have been hard to imagine how digital and connected many of our home’s features would become. From thermostats to speakers to refrigerators that can all be controlled with voice commands or from a phone, many homes today are now smart homes, relying on connected devices that allow for convenient access, even when we are not physically inside our residence. Revenue in the smart home market is projected to reach $115.70 billion this year and is forecasted to grow 13.97 percent through 2026 with a projected market volume of $195.20 billion in three years. The number of active households is expected to amount to 573.7 million users by 2026. Household penetration will be 14.2 percent in 2022 and is expected to hit 25.0 percent by 2026.

Clearly, smart homes are here to stay, and the market has plenty of growth yet to be realized. But with so many manufacturers and devices to choose from, the smart home landscape is often a mishmash of support and usability. It is confusing to figure out which product works with others. Compatible options can be limited, depending on which manufacturer you choose. And, regardless of which devices consumers choose, they are stuck with only a small portion of compatible devices that work with their platform of choice. Simply put, until now, various smart home technology standards made using devices together complicated.

Matter: The New Standard

Matter is a smart home standard and common language for smart home devices to communicate. The objective of Matter is to simplify and unify the market by enabling smart home devices to work with each other across platforms. This new standard was founded by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) and will enable consumers to simplify their connected homes and manage it all from a single voice assistant of their choice. Matter has global implications and brings together the connected device industry. Some of the most well-known names in smart home technology, including Google, Apple, Amazon, and Samsung are all on board with Matter, which is positioned to be a win for both consumers and manufacturers in the industry.

Becoming Matter-Enabled

Manufacturers of connected devices do not want to wait to become Matter enabled. Matter-enabled device manufacturers can issue the Matter logo on their devices so that customers can trust it to connect seamlessly and securely with their favorite products. It will undoubtedly become one of the top standards consumers look for when they shop for connected home devices, so it is critical to ensure your device offerings are enabled now. This largely involves device security and will leverage several security best practices. For starters, it will require that the validation of each device is authentic and certified. Matter security practices also include:

  • Up-to-date information about devices through a Distributed Compliance Ledger.
  • Strong device identity so only your devices can join your smart home.
  • Secured communications by leveraging encryption.
  • Verified access controls to prevent unauthorized actions.
  • Secured, standard software updates.
  • Verification of software integrity.

DigiCert helped develop the Device Attestation aspect of the Matter protocol which leverages PKI to ensure identity and trust.  The foundation of interoperability and trust for the Matter protocol is shared roots of trust, or product attestation authorities (PAA), that are securely created and managed by appropriate parties. Once these trusted PAAs are established, product attestation intermediates (PAI) are created and inherit the trustworthiness of the root. Every compliant member of Matter must have a PAI signed by the PAA. From these intermediates, device attestation certificates (DAC) are created, one for every device. These certificates also inherit the trustworthiness of the root and intermediate. Managing this certificate infrastructure requires robust capabilities for automation, provisioning, traceability, and reporting. A certificate management platform can help wrangle this complex process.

Building Secure Devices

Having the right tools in place to enable Matter means manufacturers can focus on what they do best: build smart devices. Working with the right partners to deploy scalable PKI products and services can accelerate your time to market and achieve compliance that will position your company and products as ready for the smart home market of the future.

Mike Nelson - VP of IoT Security, DigiCert

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.