This August, Ikea's shelves will be displaying wi-fi speakers designed by the furniture chain in collaboration with Sonos. This will bring smart devices and the internet of things closer to everyone, IKEA believes.
Making the 'smart home' more accessible
The new speakers are connected to the internet and can be integrated into the Swedish chain's furniture. A speaker can be attached to the wall and serve a secondary function as a shelf, or it could be mounted underneath a kitchen cabinet of the IKEA Method line.
The first prototypes were displayed last year at the Democratic Design Days and were announced at the time as a new line called Symfonisk. They're part of IKEA's ever growing range of 'smart home' products. Other such products include smart lamps (comparable to Philips Hue) and a bluethooth speaker. IKEA is also working on a portable speaker-lamp combo, as well as their own air filtering systems.
“Many people dream of built-in sound systems, but few can afford it,” says Björn Block, Business Leader for IKEA Home Smart. The joint effort to make sound and design at home more accessible will lead to additional collaborations: "IKEA and Sonos still have much to learn from each other, and much to explore in terms of music in the home," adds Block.
Streaming and voice assistance
The new speakers are 'smart' because of their wireless wi-fi connection and allow users to control other devices or functions at home, such as lights and heating. Sonos devices also use an open platform that supports multiple streaming services and voice assistants: you can summon Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri.
In Belgium, the speakers will be available in August of 2019, according to an IKEA spokesperson. The launch date for the Netherlands hasn't been confirmed yet, nor do we have any information on the price. We do know that the devices will be available in two colours.