IKEA has jumped aboard the smart home bandwagon for a few months now with the release of its smart lightbulbs, but figured out that they would like to do better than that. How so? By introducing an update that will also make them compatible with Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa. This would ensure that the bulbs’ appeal is broadened, especially among those who would like to dip their toes into the world of the smart home. It can be said to be the perfect reason to dive into the possibility of a smart home for folks who have not yet given it a go but have always wondered what a smart home is all about.
It is nice to see Ikea move so fast in making sure that their smart lightbulbs have received an update so soon after its release in March earlier this year. Just a few months back, the whole idea of Ikea smart lightbulbs does seem promising, as it brings together highly affordable products for the home with the backing of a well-known brand, all the while coupled with a degree of advanced technology. Unfortunately, Ikea’s smart lightbulbs did not really do too well in terms of compatibility, being controlled only by Ikea's remote or base station. In this day and age where virtually everyone has a smartphone, it makes perfect sense to have a device that is compatible with Apple or Google’s product to a certain degree. Hence, rectifying this particular oversight to have the Ikea smart lightbulbs play nice with Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa devices is certainly a step in the right direction. However, this update will only happen in the summer and early fall, so do not expect it to arrive anytime sooner.
Other than having Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Ikea will also have an update for its Tradfri smartphone app released, in addition to the internet-connected gateway. Both of these are capable of letting the user control the light from individual Tradfri bulbs. It is certainly a move that will help those who would like to have some fun in home automation but are not all that willing to open up their wallets to dive into the scene completely, or are perhaps restricted by a tighter than usual budget.
After all, IKEA's Tradfri lineup is highly affordable compared to what other established smart bulb makers are charging. For instance, Philips has dimmer kits that start at $20, while individual bulbs will retail for $12 a pop, but with the likes of Google Home and Amazon Echo around, those will soon be able to respond to a variety of voice commands that range from "Alexa, turn on the basement lights,” or "Ok, Google, turn on the living room light."
One thing is for sure -- the home is certainly getting smarter than ever before with a proliferation of devices that are well connected to the Internet. Anyone who has tried out Amazon’s Alexa would find out just how creepy it can get at first. “Alexa, turn on the lights” or “Alexa, turn on the TV” becomes more and more commonplace, as we learn to interact more with machines compared to humans. Just take a look at the tables the next time you drop by the neighborhood cafe and see how many people are actually engaged in conversation as opposed to smiling and scrolling through their Facebook feeds on their smartphones. It seems that the more we connect with each other online, the more awkward real life, face-to-face conversations become. Hopefully IKEA’s smart lightbulbs with the latest update will simply help to make life easier, as opposed to separating the interaction gulf between families further than ever before.