IKEA moves in on smart home market

IKEA is the latest retail name hoping to take share of the smart home market with its lighting collection built around the ZigBee Light Link standard.

All signs indicate IKEA feels like it can offer serious competition to Philips Hue in the mainstream connected lighting market with its newly unveiled product line. Comprised of LED bulbs (with a lifespan of 25,000 hours), dimming lights, a remote control and a gateway kit with app-based control, the “Trådfri” (translates simply to “wirefree” in Swedish) range.

Notably, IKEA says its colourful “motion-controlled dimmer switch” allows users to dim lights simply be rolling it around in their hand (as seen below), as well as working independently.

After syncing the lights up with the hub plugged into the router, users can control lights from their phone, or program them to turn on and off automatically at preset times via a free app. Although users can set personalised presets (e.g. warm or cool light) like with Philips Hue, the range is currently much more limited in scope, with no coloured lighting available yet.

All products are compatible with the ZigBee Light Link standard for connected lights. A gateway device sits at the centre of the system, which uses Ethernet to create a local “Trådfri” network for lights. Each product has an energy rating of A+.

Billed as a completely DIY offering, IKEA state there is “no need for new wiring or hiring an electrician” to install the products, with online support available.

Customers can also purchase three sizes of dimmable LED light panels for walls or ceilings and two sizes of light doors designed for kitchen cabinets.

Pricing has been announced as the following:

LED lightbulbs £9-15 (starting at $11.99)

Remote control £15 ($12.99)

Dimming kit £15-29 (starting at $19.99)

Motion sensor kit £25 ($24.99)

Gateway £25 ($29.99) and gateway kit £69 ($79.99)

LED light door/panel £55-100 (not currently available in the US)

IKEA's website gives no indication that these products will work with other technologies such as IFTTT, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa or Google Home for voice control in the future. Although the retailer says it hopes to open up the systems API to developers.

IKEA also hopes to include an Away from Home feature in the app in the future, allowing users to remotely set their lights on timers, and check whether they turned lights off.

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