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SPECIAL MENTION: Smart home tech can save you money and secure your house, but getting devices from different manufacturers to speak the same language can be an exercise in Babel-like futility. Matter, a standardized IP-based connectivity protocol, aims to serve as a Rosetta Stone for smart tech. More than 200 major global technology companies, including Amazon, Samsung, Apple and Google, have signed on to use the Matter standard, giving consumers a wide range of compatible devices from which to choose. Matter plans to release its open-source software development kit to manufacturers next year. —Paulina Cachero

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