Smart home technologies will facilitate aging in place. Connected LLC

In an effort to slowly evolve the smart home tech industry, Ikea is taking its time in developing solutions that address the major challenges that face any organization approaching this space. It has the scale and expertise, and strong collaborations with others in the space, to make a big impact with integrated solutions.

A YEAR AND a half ago, Ikea became a smart home company, introducing a line of connected light bulbs to complement its lingonberries. This spring, it adds its second product category to its Home Smart lineup: a set of smart blinds, called Fyrtur, that open and close with the tap of a wireless remote or a voice command. Blinds might seem an odd choice to build on Ikea’s IoT momentum. In fact, there’s no better sign that the company has a better grip on the smart home than just about anybody.

Stories about the smart home tend to focus on the negative, and for good enough reason; how many other household items can be hacked by pranksters threatening nuclear war? But the problems associated with many connected devices belie that they can, in many instances, be genuinely useful. Take Ikea’s Trådfri LEDs, which focus on affordability and ease of use over flash. Or likewise its smart blinds, which exist explicitly to solve more problems than they create.

For years, Ikea has made blinds without strings or cords. This is for safety reasons; cordless became the industry standard in 2018 to minimize the risk of children getting tangled in them.

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