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Ikea is now a smart home company, and the end times are near

Published Mar 28th, 2017 3:44PM EDT
ikea smart bulbs
Image: Ikea

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Never one to let an opportunity to slap a hard-to-pronounce name on a new line of products pass it by, Ikea has decided it’s time for it to jump head first into the smart home market. The company just launched a new line of connected lighting accessories that it calls Trådfri, which is apparently Swedish for “wireless.” The lights can be controlled through a variety of means and thankfully Ikea has adopted one of the more popular smart home standards to make the whole system work.

One of the biggest problems with the smart home movement is that many of the individual devices we typically think of as making up a high-tech house don’t necessarily speak the same language. Lights that use one app, a fridge that has a mind of its own, and automated door locks, sound systems, and garage doors that work on totally separate platforms. It’s a big problem, but some solutions are emerging, including the ZigBee Light Link standard for smart devices. Ikea’s new home hub and smart lights use this platform, which is also used by the extremely popular Phillips Hue bulbs.

What sets Ikea’s smart lighting platform apart is that, like most of Ikea’s wares, it’s extremely cheap. The basic set, which includes a central hub, remote, and a pair of the smart bulbs runs right around $85, which is impulse buy territory for anyone interested in making their living space a little more high-tech. The company is also launching several different bulb sizes, as well as an LED light panel that provides softer illumination. The whole line of smart stuff is expected to be available by the end of March in Sweden, with wider rollout likely to follow shortly thereafter.