In April, popular Swedish furniture and appliances company Ikea launched its own range of low-cost smart light bulbs.
TRÅDFRI, or so they're called, are cheap — most will only run customers as low as $12 excluding the Gateway device — but so far users have had to rely on a remote control or Ikea's own app to use the bulbs. That's about to change.
Ikea Will Soon Add Voice Control For Its Smart Light Bulbs
Ikea announced on Tuesday, May 23, that its Home Smart products will soon respond to voice commands made via Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. What's more, its products will integrate with Apple's HomeKit platform.
"Making our products work with others on the market takes us one step closer to meet people's needs, making it easier to interact with your smart home products," said Björn Block, business leader of the company's Home Smart unit.
Expect the functionality to arrive "during the summer and early autumn." Ikea began tilting toward the smart home arena as far back as 2015, when it launched wireless charging products for mobile phones. Two years later, it introduced the aforementioned light bulbs, which are plug and play devices, meaning there's no complex hardwiring required to install the lighting system.
Ike's Smart Home Efforts To Continue
Ikea is betting big on the smart home industry, as it promises additional launches in the long run. These forthcoming products will enable "people to build onto their smart home solution." Ikea will also commit to making its smart connected products work with third-party products or services in the market.
"We think that smart home technology should be accessible for everybody. That is why we will continue to make our products work with others on the market."
Adding Echo, Siri, and Google Assistant functionality will help Ikea sell its range of smart bulbs to those who already use either virtual assistants, especially Echo or Google Home owners. With voice commands, users will be able to turn the light on or off and adjust the brightness to their preference.
Ikea's Smart Bulbs Win In Pricing
Typically, installing smart lighting systems can be pricey. Philips Hue, for instance, specifically its Bridge 2.0, costs $60. By contrast, Ikea's smart lighting TRÅDFRI Gateway is just $30, although how many lights it can support remains nebulous.
Similarly, Ikea's smart light bulbs are cheaper. While Philips boasts a wider selection of bulb types, Ikea wins in the pricing department, with a standard bulb only running customers $12. Hue's bulbs, by contrast, cost $15. Sure, one might think that a $3 difference is pretty negligible, but customers are more than likely to buy a great number of bulbs if they plan on outfitting their whole house with smart lighting. That seemingly small gap can balloon costs pretty quickly.
Ikea's smart lighting offers a cheaper solution than most, and with the impending addition of voice command functionality, it's only fair to assume that the furniture maker will have a leg up in the smart home race soon enough.
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