For many people, their first foray into the world of home automation begins with lighting. There's a good reason for this: smart bulbs easily fit into existing furnishings and can be operated using just a smartphone, which (mostly) everybody now owns. Philips, with its Hue range, is perhaps the most well known smart bulb maker, but that could soon change thanks to a new entrant: IKEA. That's right, the world's biggest furniture chain is today debuting its own smart lighting range in the UK. As you'd expect, the prices are a lot easier on the wallet.
The Smart Lighting collection consists of TRÅDFRI LED bulbs and remote control, a gateway kit, a motion sensor kit, dimming lights and a selection of LED light panels and doors that can be built into kitchen and bedroom cabinets. To begin with, all of IKEA's new bulbs provide only various shades of white, so don't start dreaming of a multi-colour setup just yet.
For £69, the gateway kit provides two white LED bulbs, a remote control and a gateway that connects to your router via ethernet. The bulbs are controlled by the TRÅDFRI app, which offers to personalised and user-created presets of warm or cool light. The £29 white spectrum dimming kit, on the other hand, is a lot more analog and requires the use of a handheld control that will change the white colour to one of three settings. IKEA says the bulb is perfect for switching your dining room from a makeshift office into a low-lit dinner party setting, but it could also work as a child's night light.
There's also a warm white dimming kit, which comes in at £15. This cheaper plug-and-play kit includes one bulb and a magnetised remote (available in black, white and yellow) that will dim the light between "subtle and strong warm white light" with a simple twist.
With the TRÅDFRI wireless motion sensor kit, which costs £25, IKEA says it wants to "give you and your home a sense of safety with lighting that responds instantly." When you walk into a room, the light will automatically switch on and remain lit until one, five or 10 minutes have passed. Like all of IKEA's Smart Lighting products, the sensor itself does not need to be fixed, allowing you to place it in a spot that suits you.
Rounding off the collection is a selection of SURTE, FLOALT and JORMLIEN door and light panels that range between £55 and £100. They're designed to fit in the company's BESTÅ cabinets and METOD kitchens, offering personalised lighting in one of the most important areas in the house.
Although the lights are going on sale in the UK for the first time, customers in Europe have been able to get their hands on the remote controlled solutions since September last year. The gateway kit, however, is new to all markets and allows customers to add new bulbs starting from £9, depending on the fitting.
We asked IKEA if it plans to open its Smart Lighting kits to third-party services like IFTTT, but the company declined to answer. There's also no word on US availability, but as this is IKEA, so you never know.
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