IKEA is finally pushing seriously into smarter home territory with the TRÅDFRI system, a series of LED lights finally coming to global stores by the end of March. The networked lighting is built around a small series of bulbs and furniture panels, a network connection hub/gateway powered by Ethernet, and controlled via app.
The system uses Zigbee Light Link standards and offers a wide range of tailoring for space and use needs, from desk lamps to glowing cabinetry. The bulbs and app accommodate a wide range of luminosity, dimming options, plus three preset color temperatures (2200K, 2700K, and 4000K), ideal for mood-specifying your spaces.
Set daily timers for lights, control them remotely, and station lights as far as ~30 feet apart. It's all fairly standard, with some IKEAesque visual tweaks. By far the biggest and most fun feature for me is the addition of a motion controlled remote dimmer, apparently used sans buttons or triggers. You just hold it in the air and turn like a traditional knob.
I need to stop evaluating IKEA designs through a lens of "how fast would I break or lose this?" and start thinking about how responsible people use things, because smart widgets get exponentially more interesting that way. While the TRÅDFRI offers a more recognizable controler with clear adjustment buttons, the puck shaped dimmer is obviously more playful. And easily lost. And unnecessary. And possibly imprecise. But fun!
It docks with its equally puck-like charger, so if you're a more responsible remote user than I am, it'll be easy to keep charged, stored and looking cool on a desk.
Paired with IKEA's strategic low prices, these lights might have what it takes to beckon newcomers into the Smart Home fold. At >$100 for a gateway and a pair of bulbs, I imagine a lot of dorm rooms are about to get a lot more beguiling.