Ikea’s not a tech company, but it sure knows the home. That’s probably why the flat-pack company, founded in 1943, calls its smart home initiative “Home smart,” giving the home priority over the technology. What started as a trickle of smart devices — including tables with integrated Qi chargers and low-priced lights, switches, plugs, and blinds built upon the Zigbee standard — has ballooned into a full-blown business. The Ikea Home smart business unit now sits alongside the company’s more traditional businesses, like Bedroom & Bathroom, Kitchen & Dining, and Ikea Food (aka, meatballs) with investment to match. Ikea’s partnership with Sonos marks the first time the company has ever sold a co-branded product in one of its stores. With 433 stores servicing over 1 billion customers in 2019, let’s just say that Ikea’s impact on the smart home could be significant.
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The Swedish furniture giant has conquered living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms — but can it hang on to the future of the home?