Photograph by Mitch Payne
THE PRODUCT Swedish furniture and lifestyle
brand Ikea is extending its attrac-tive-yet-affordable design aesthetic
to technology. In April, the company launched Wi-Fi– and remote-controlled LED
bulbs that allow people to create the right ambience for different activities with a single fxture.
They’re dimmable, motion-sensor responsive,
and color-changeable. And since most of us are
accustomed to using a switch—not an app—to
turn lights on and off, Ikea also designed a wireless
remote control that can be mounted anywhere.
(The $20 starter kit includes the bulb and remote,
and a mobile app helps users program settings.)
While smart lighting has been on the market for
years, it’s been slow to catch on due to price and
the perception that it’s complicated to operate.
Ikea’s user-centered design, plus the brand’s
scale—it has 390 stores in 48 countries—could be
the determining factor in widespread adoption.
Plus, the system is now compatible with Apple’s
HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home.
THE PROCESS Ikea spent three years interviewing
prospective customers and learned
that living spaces are more fexible
than ever—plus people spend more
time at home. “Think about all the things you do
on your dining table,” says Rebecca Töreman,
product developer for Ikea’s Home Smart range.
“If you’re doing homework, maybe you want to
have cooler light for focusing. If you’re having a
family meal, you want something warmer for a
cozy atmosphere.” Ikea simplifed the color and
brightness options into situational language—
there are Everyday, Focus, and Relax modes—but
also offers manual control. The company sees more
connected-home products in its future. “Start
simple with the things that the customer can
relate to, and that’s lighting,” Töreman says. — D b
A BRIGHT IDEA
Trådfri smart bulb