Ikea is confident that it’s onto a winner with smart homes. The Swedish multinational has announced a renewed focus and expansion for the Internet of Things (IoT) division, with additional funding, extra staff and additional collaborations. Ikea has already had some successful partnerships, including audio with Sonos.
Ikea also has the advantage of not having a formal agreement with an of the virtual assistants, being able to work with Siri, Google and Alexa without issue. As a result of this successful approach, it’s highly likely that Ikea will seek partnerships with hardware businesses rather than a focused partnership with one of the major software providers.
This has many people excited because when it came to design, Ikea revolutionised what was available to people for a certain cost. Suddenly, designer furniture was accessible and reasonably priced and it’s hoped that the same thing will happen to smart homes. It’s highly likely that Ikea will have a two-pronged approach to product. Firstly, they will have existing products that can communicate through Ikea’s Tradfri gateway and purchased independently of each other. Secondly, there’s likely to be complete smart home solutions that can either be purchased as ‘ready-to-go’ packs,’ as in home security and lighting and also complete home solutions, similar to the kitchen design services already on offer.
It’s hoped that this will help drive the price of smart homes down, or at least create clearer price differentiators and justifications from other brands. Should Ikea create robust solutions with major hardware suppliers – especially when it comes to audio-visual and security, there’s a good chance that it may become a logical choice – and branding opportunity – for new homes. All of this is predicated to quality and Ikea maintaining it’s track record of functional, easy to use solutions. If they do, the competition will be scrambling to catch up.