The new connected home products focus on lighting, and should start showing up on Ikea showfloors as soon as this week.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ikea is probably known best for its assemble-it-yourself furniture (sold with a side of Swedish meatballs, of course), but now, the retailer is setting its sights on something new -- the smart home.
Specifically, Ikea is set to start rolling out a line of connected lighting products designed to be simple, affordable, and accessible. These include light bulbs and also LED light panels that can come built into Ikea cabinetry, or sold on their own as standalone, wall-or-ceiling-mounted light fixtures.
All of the products will communicate with each other using built-in ZigBee radios -- the same standard used by Philips Hue, among others in the connected lighting category. After syncing the lights up with an Ikea ZigBee hub that you plug into your router, you'll be able to control the lights from your phone, or program them to turn on and off automatically at preset times.
A Trådfri motion sensor that comes paired with a single Trådfri LED for hub-free motion-activated lighting for 249 Krona (about $30/£25/AU$35)
The Trådfri Gateway that plugs into your router and controls everything for 249 Krona (about $30/£25/AU$35)
It's worth reiterating that those US, UK and Australian prices are all just rough conversions from the Swedish listings. Ikea tells CNET that it plans to start rolling these products out across Europe and North America on March 31, but region-by-region pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed.
What's interesting here is that this is such a wide lineup, and one that offers so many different ways in for consumers who might be new to smart lighting. A number of starter kits and combo deals are available, too, including a base package that includes the gateway hub, the wireless remote, and two Trådfri bulbs for 749 Krona (about $85/£70/AU$110).
Ikea's website gives no indication that these products will sync up with any larger smart home platforms like Wink, SmartThings, IFTTT, Apple HomeKit or Amazon's Alexa for voice controls, but all would make sense should the Swedish retailer choose to expand. The potential is certainly there if the product line proves popular.
Even without those sorts of connections at launch, the lineup still offers some intriguing utility of its own. For instance, aside from automating their dimming habits, many of the Trådfri lights can also shift color temperatures between a warm, yellowy glow and hotter, more bluish-white daylight tones.
Ikea's knack for consistent aesthetics might pay off, too, with the built-in design of those Surte panels or the fact that you can connect multiple Floalt panels together to create a grid of smart lights on your living room wall.
At any rate, we'll keep an eye out for the new products here in the States, and offer up our first impressions and full reviews of each just as soon as we get our hands on them. Stay tuned.
Editor's note: Updated on 3/28/17 at 10:00 a.m EST to include information about global availability.