Update 5/26/17: IKEA announced this week that their smart lighting collection will also come with voice activation, supporting all three major assistants, Siri, Google, and Alexa.
3/31/17: The home of the future just got a lot more accessible. This week, IKEA debuted their new smart lighting collection. If you've been curious about smart home tech, but haven't yet dipped your toe in, the Swedish retailer just made it as easy as—you guessed it—screwing in a lightbulb.
Smart lightbulbs aren't anything new. In fact, they're often people's first foray into the futuristic—if not occasionally puzzling—world of smart home tech. You don't need to make big purchases (like a smart refrigerator) or irreversible upgrades, which make it a perfect option for renters, too.
Surely, there's no shortage of smart bulbs already on the market; There are ones that change color, ones that play music, and even ones you can talk to. But while other companies are selling individual bulbs that cost $60 or more, with starter kits upwards of $100 or more, you can bet that IKEA's TRÅDFRI collection is on the more affordable end of the spectrum, with bulbs starting at $19.99 and kits from $19.99 to $79.99. Certainly, you can get cheaper smart bulbs for as little as under $10, but IKEA's instead going "budget premium," as Fast Company points out.
The temperature of the light from the LED bulbs can be changed, from a warm glow to a brighter white—a comparable bulb from Philips costs over $40. Outside of price, what makes TRÅDFRI stand out is that while most bulbs require an app, IKEA wants you to be able to work the lights without your phone nearby. The kits include a dimmer that can control up to ten bulbs at a time. There's also an optional motion sensor so you you don't have to fumble for switches of any kind when you walk into a dark room.
But IKEA's smart lighting doesn't stop at bulbs for your lamps and and fixtures; it also includes smart light doors and panels that can help bring the feeling of more daylight indoors. There are light doors that fit BESTÅ units and SEKTION kitchen cabinets, as well as panels in three sizes that can be mounted on the wall or ceiling.
TRÅDFRI will be available in US stores starting in April. The smart light doors and panels will launch later this summer.