IKEA is a company known for its affordable, minimalist products that help maximize space in your home without breaking the budget. They aren't known for their smart home concepts though, but that's something the company is working on changing in a significant way with its new Home smart business unit. IKEA is proving its dedication to the idea of a smart, connected home that it's invested a significant amount of capital into this new division, making it the largest new business established in the company since the introduction of Children's IKEA.
"By working together with all other departments within IKEA, the business unit of IKEA Home smart will drive the digital transformation of the IKEA range, improving and transforming existing businesses and developing new businesses to bring more diverse smart products to the many people. We are just getting started," ends Björn Block, Head of the new Business Unit at IKEA of Sweden.
The biggest difference between something like Children's IKEA and the new Home smart concept is that IKEA doesn't appear to be launching a new area within their stores, rather, they'll be integrating smart home products with existing lines and departments to create a more cohesive experience. Smart home products are designed to fit in with existing products in a more functional way, rather than stand out and obviously look like a "smart" product might be imagined. The recent partnership with Sonos proves that IKEA wants these products to fit in with their current designs and ideals.
IKEA has been at the smart home game in some fashion since 2012 when it established the first smart home concepts at the company. Those efforts have been fairly minimal though, and the company wants to bring about a more cohesive, consistent experience with products that offer smart, connected functionality while still being simple and user-friendly. IKEA recently renamed their smart app from TRÅDFRI to IKEA Home smart to help users more easily find it and foster a better understanding of their ideals for a smart home rather than a single new monolithic line of products.
Seemingly starting off the new unit will be the launch of the IKEA smart blinds, which have been delayed a few times but appear to be on track for an October 1 launch this year. A number of unboxing videos and initial reviews on YouTube seem to confirm that the worldwide launch of the FYRTUR smart blinds is imminent.
IKEA also cites that it's begun new partnerships with several major digital companies and wants to unify the smart home experience rather than just create its own ecosystem that further complicates things. Part of this dedication to the greater smart home concept is deep integration with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and hopefully a few others as well. These sorts of implementations make things simpler for consumers, and the ability to link to services like IFTTT means that users can create even greater integration themselves without waiting for developers to come up with an official solution.