IKEA to shake up smart products

An interesting development was picked up yesterday by iphone-ticker.de and reported by Macrumors, which is helpful since the original report was in German, and taken from a press release on Ikea's myNewsDesk press site...in Swedish.

The crux of the announcement is what's important thought, which is that Ikea's 2016 released TRÅDFRI range of smart LED light products will be getting Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit support in "Summer and Autumn". 

 TRÅDFRI products, courtesy IKEA

TRÅDFRI products, courtesy IKEA

The range currently includes white LED lights in a number of formats, a couple of dimmer switches, a remote, motion sensor, and light panels, which one could see being expanded into their range of modular storage units and cupboards. The lights are only white varieties, which can reportedly be set between three color temperatures, but with IKEA pricing that's still compelling.

The range uses the ZigBee Light Link protocol, which makes is compatible with other lighting products such as Philips Hue and GE C-Life, so you should be able to use either Ikea's own bridge device, or an existing one if you already have ZigBee lights in your setup.

Deployment has been limited to select European countries until this year, with IKEA starting to roll them out more broadly since April, although beyond the UK the plan doesn't seem to be clear.

I'm interested that, according to the original report, IKEA plans to add HomeKit support to their gateway device via a software update. As Apple requires specific security hardware to endorse products for use with HomeKit other vendors have been unable to take this approach, notably Belkin with their WeMo range. Either IKEA has jumped the gun on their announcement, or has built in the required hardware in anticipation. We'll have to watch and see, which may be difficult given the vague timing of the upgrade.