IKEA is owned by Inter Ikea, and the company’s chief executive, Torbjorn Loof, said it is looking into products like smart air cleaners to go along with already existing smart products like light bulbs, blinds and speakers.
“We see it as a very interesting area for us to embark on,” Loof said. “We want to simplify it and make it affordable. I think Ikea could have a leading role in the smart home arena.”
IKEA was founded in Sweden 76 years ago, and it’s been undergoing one of the biggest changes since its inception. It’s been trending more toward online sales and assembly by smaller shops in other places besides its flagship stores. The last time the company made such a big investment was in 1997 when it set up a child-centric area in its stores.
Now, it wants to expand on smart home accessories, which started when it introduced the smart light bulb that could be controlled through an app. The company also recently introduced Sonos speakers that could be integrated into a home’s smart hub.
IKEA Home Smart business area head Bjorn Block said the company wanted to approach the area differently than a big tech company would.
“For us, home comes first,” he said. “When we meet some of the tech companies, they come from smart, but we come from the home.”
IKEA has been hiring software engineers in Sweden, and it’s looking into potentially setting up shops in Asia and the United States.
IKEA once tried to come up with its own line of TVs, which flopped, and it said it learned from its mistakes and it’s going to try to partner with companies that have expertise in their own fields, like it did with the Sonos speakers.