Ikea is going deeper into the Internet of Things (IoT), furthering its investment in smart home technology and products, TechCrunch reported on Saturday (Aug. 17).
The household goods and furniture company is moving slowly into the smart home market with less expensive merchandise that works with Apple’s HomeKit platform.
Ikea tested the smart home waters in 2012 and says it is now launching a business unit devoted to the IoT space.
“We have decided to invest significantly in Home Smart across Ikea to fast-forward the development. This is the biggest new business we are establishing since the introduction of Children’s Ikea,” Peter van der Poel, Manager Ikea Range & Supply said in a news release.
The division is being headed by Björn Block, said in the release that Ikea’s growth includes looking to “explore products and solutions beyond conventional home furnishing.”
Ikea is also launching a smart blinds unit in the U.S. and recently launched its first speakers in partnership with Sonos.
“By working together with all other departments within Ikea, the business unit of Ikea Home smart will drive the digital transformation of the Ikea range, improving and transforming existing businesses and developing new businesses to bring more diverse smart products to the many people. We are just getting started,” said Block.
Ikea partnered in June with Ori to bring robotic furniture to the market. Hong Kong and Japan’s tiny apartment spaces are planned as the first targets for furniture that can convert from storage and seating into beds and closets (and back again).
Ori launched in 2015 as a way to reduce the footprint of living spaces in urban environments. It grew out of research done by Larrea and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor at MIT’s famed Media Lab.
“We share Ikea’s passion to enable people to make the most of their living spaces, and look forward to helping realize this as we continue to develop living spaces for the next generation,” said Ori CEO Hasier Larrea.