Swedish furniture giant Ikea is getting smart, establishing a division dedicated to coming up with smart home solutions and collaborating with tech companies to create future homes.
The new division, the Ikea Home Smart Business Unit, would be in charge of developing smart home technology like wireless charging, smart lighting and smart speakers in collaborations with companies like American consumer electronics company Sonos.
Ikea Sweden Home Smart Business Unit head Björn Block says the company wants to continue to offer products for a better life at home going forward and to do so, it needs to explore products and solutions beyond conventional home furnishing.
Ikea had begun incorporating digital elements into its furniture since 2012, though it only did so on a project-to-project basis.
Most recently it launched its own ecosystem and app for smart lighting, originally called Tradfri, which was later changed to something easier to pronounce in English - the Ikea Home Smart app - in June.
"By working together with all other departments within Ikea, Ikea Home smart will drive the digital transformation of the Ikea range, improving and transforming existing businesses and developing new businesses to bring more diverse smart products to the many people," says Block in a press release.
He says the division would continue building relationships with major digital companies and has become a recognised player in the space of smart homes and innovation.
Ikea Range and Supply manager, Peter van der Poel, says the retailer has decided to invest significantly in Home Smart to fast-forward the development and that this new business unit was the biggest such effort since establishing Children's Ikea.