There have been several big technology battles throughout history where competing technologies have vied for dominance. From the early eighties many of us remember the VHS vs Beta battle - which VHS won. Also in the early eighties the Mac vs PC battle got underway, but that one is still ongoing. In the early 2000’s we had the Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle (Blu-ray won), and the Blackberry vs iPhone battle - which of course iPhone won. Is 5G IoT vs Matter going to be the next major technology battle? Who will win?
What is Matter and what is 5G IoT?
Matter is a smart home technology standard that was created to make it easier for consumers to set up and use smart home devices from different brands. It is a communication protocol that allows smart home devices to communicate with each other and with a central hub or gateway.
5G IoT refers to wireless cellular communication technology standards that enable applications in various industries, and new use cases and is designed to support the growing number of connected Internet of Things devices. It allows devices to communicate with each other and with the cloud.
Both Matter and 5G IoT are communication technologies designed specifically for high tech devices, and both are promoted as secure, low-power, and reliable.
What of the battle?
Before we go into a deeper analysis of Matter vs 5G IoT to see who might win, let’s have a look at some of those past tech battles to see if there are any predictors we can use.
VHS won the battle over Beta as it had better features, such as longer recording time; the recorders/players were slightly cheaper; it had better distribution and market momentum.
iPhone won over Blackberry due to better features/user experience; better design; it had an app store with more apps; and there was also the Apple marketing machine that created significant market momentum. Both phones were similar in terms of cost.
Big companies backing the technology also play a significant role in their march to victory. With VHS they had the Hollywood Motion Picture industry behind it, releasing more movies on VHS than on Beta. In the smartphone tech battle, Apple came in as a powerhouse, a household name with a proven track record of over 30 years delivering superior computers such as the Mac, and other devices such as the iPod. Blackberry came in as a nobody – they had some pagers released a couple of years before they released their phones.
So if the tech battles are often won by the technology with the bigger, more powerful companies backing it, better features, better marketing/better at creating market momentum, and better distribution lets analyse these attributes for 5G IoT and Matter.
Companies backing 5G IoT and Matter
Both Matter and 5G IoT have an alliance made up of hundreds of heavyweights behind them. The Matter alliance includes leading technology companies Amazon, Apple, and Google. The Zigbee Alliance is also part of Matter and that is made up over 400 companies including Philips, Texas instruments, and retailers IKEA, Walmart and many others. 5G IoT has an alliance that includes Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, AT&T, Verizon and hundreds of other Mobile Network Operators.
5G IoT vs Matter features
Both technologies boast features aimed mostly at addressing the challenges that have dogged their industries in the past. Lets face it – both technologies are coming into this battle in not the best of form. Both technologies have faced challenges including interoperability issues; privacy, security and hacking; reliability issues; high costs and difficulties in setting up devices.
Marketing/creating market momentum.
Although both Matter and 5G IoT have been around for many years now, you wouldn’t exactly call them household names yet. Most people still haven’t heard of IoT or Matter.
According to the GSMA, in the last few years 5G IoT technologies have been rolled out in over 130 countries on around 170 cellular networks. Although Matter was born in 2019, its adoption is still in early stages, and it’s difficult to provide an exact number of households that are using it. The platform was only just released to the public (Oct 22) and it will likely take some time for it to gain widespread adoption.
What about the Battlefield?
A technology battle is about market dominance. What is the market that 5G IoT and Matter are battling for here? Matter is a smart home technology, where-as 5G IoT is a technology designed to be used in a wide range of applications and industries, with the smart home being just one industry. Other industries that 5G IoT technology is built for include;
Smart Cities: 5G IoT can be used to support the development of smart cities, where a wide range of connected devices and systems are used to improve the efficiency, safety and sustainability of urban areas.
Industrial automation: 5G IoT can be used to support the automation of industrial processes, including the use of connected devices and systems to monitor and control production processes, improve safety and increase efficiency.
Healthcare: 5G IoT can be used to support the development of connected healthcare systems, where wearable devices and other IoT devices can be used to monitor patients and provide real-time data to healthcare professionals.
Automotive: 5G IoT can be used to support the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, where a wide range of connected devices and systems are used to improve safety, efficiency, and the overall driving experience.
Retail: 5G IoT can be used to support the development of connected retail experiences, where a wide range of connected devices and systems can be used to improve the customer experience and increase efficiency.
Whilst both 5G IoT and Matter aim to provide advanced connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things, their focus and application areas are very different. 5G IoT provides fast and efficient communication between IoT devices on cellular networks, while Matter standardizes the communication protocols between smart devices in only a smart home environment. So is it really shaping up to be a technology battle after all?