Swedish consumer company IKEA has launched a smart light bulb line of products that will respond to voice commands via Amazon Alexa on Echo and other smart speaker devices, Google Assistant on Google Home, and Siri via Apple HomeKit. Availability for the new line, an extension of their Trådfri offering, is slated for this summer.
Trådfri currently works using an app or a remote control, but will soon get voice assistant support so people can use it with any smart speaker they’re currently using at home. IKEA has tremendous reach, with 340 stores across 28 countries, and making this product line compatible with a growing install base of smart speakers is a solid move from the furniture and home products giant.
The press release, in Swedish, contains a clue to IKEA’s objectives in the smart home segment. According to Björn Block, product manager for IKEA Home Smart (translated):
“With IKEA Home Smart, we challenge everything that’s complicated and expensive online homes. By making sure that our products work with others in the market, we are taking another step to meet people’s needs and make it easier to interact with the products for the smart home.”
IKEA’s intention has always been to go lower than available alternatives on the pricing front. The Trådfri’s gateway currently used to control its smart light bulbs, for example, retails for $30, compared to $60 for the Philips Hue. IKEA’s smart bulbs start at $15, while C by GE light bulbs start at around $23 and go up all the way to above $75. Incidentally, C by GE Sol is a newly launched smart lamp that has Amazon Alexa built into it, and is available to pre-order at $200.
But the IKEA Trådfri line is possibly the first smart light bulb that can work with multiple AI assistants, and we believe this is going to be the trend moving forward. With four major tech companies entering the smart home space in a big way, consumer products such as light bulbs and appliances will soon be able to respond to voice commands no matter what the mode of delivery – Echo, HomeKit, Google Home, and even Microsoft’s Harman Kardon Invoke.
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