Furniture designer and retailer IKEA teamed up with speaker manufacturer Sonos to create a new line of audio products designed to ennoble contemporary smart homes, the two companies announced Wednesday. The collaboration is part of the IKEA Home Smart program and will seek to deliver devices that will facilitate music playback anywhere in one’s home, the partners said, adding that their main goal is allowing people to enjoy immersive audio experiences while still maintaining their daily life flow. No specifics on the collaboration have yet been provided by either party, with the two only saying that the products created as part of the project will launch in IKEA stores at some point in 2019. The wording of the announcement suggests the initiative is presently only aimed at delivering a single product series two years from now and the firms haven’t committed to any follow-ups as they’re presumably waiting to see how consumers will respond to their first-generation offerings.
IKEA and Sonos described the move as their attempt to “democratize music” in one’s home, adding that their products will be specifically designed to allow people to continue enjoying audio experiences together. Whether that hints at a full-fledged Sonos surround system installed in IKEA-made furniture or a more unconventional solution remains to be seen but seeing how the collaboration is presented as part of the IKEA Home Smart program, it’s certainly targeting the Internet of Things segment. The tie-up doesn’t necessarily seem like a natural fit, with IKEA’s brand image still largely revolving around affordable and stylish furniture, whereas most products from Sonos are meant to be premium offerings that aren’t looking to undercut but outperform their competition. Due to that state of affairs, estimating the price range that Sonos and IKEA will be targeting with their smart audio products is a difficult task.
The IKEA Home Smart initiative has been intensifying its commitment to contemporary tech solutions in recent times, having financed research and development of wireless chargers in 2015, smart lighting sets in 2016, and even embraced the Google Assistant earlier this year. The company is expected to announce more smart home collaborations before the products it’s currently developing with Sonos are officially released.