Ikea’s working on a new Shortcut Button that can activate a “scene” in homes that are fitted with the company’s smart products, according to a new Federal Communications Commission filing. A scene is typically defined as a set of event-driven (leaving home, having dinner, etc.) commands that are issued simultaneously to multiple smart home devices. The Tradfri Shortcut Button was first spotted by Dave Zatz, with Swedish site Teknikveckan speculating that it might be possible to add different pictograms behind the button’s plastic door to better identify its function.
A single press of the discrete button activates a scene linked to it through the Ikea Home smart app, as described in an accompanying user guide. The Ikea button will last an estimated two years when powered by a coin battery, and it requires a $35 Ikea Tradfri gateway to operate.
Scenes not timers
Curiously, the current version of the Ikea Home smart app doesn’t support scenes; it only works with timers to control Ikea’s current range of smart devices. Timers are useful for executing tasks at a specific time, whereas a scene can be activated whenever you want. For example, a scene called “TV time” could lower the Fyrtur blinds, crank up the Symfonisk speaker, power on an AC unit, and dim the living room lights. The scene could be activated by Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant (which are all supported by Ikea), via the Ikea Home smart app or, in the future, via a quick press of the dedicated Shortcut Button located next to the couch. Another button that turns off the lights and locks the doors could be next to the bed where you might not want to place an always-listening smart speaker.
No price is listed, but the Tradfri Shortcut Button will likely undercut competing products from Hue, Amazon, and SmartThings as Ikea’s inexpensive Zigbee-based Home smart ecosystem continues to grow.