“We have decided to invest significantly in Home Smart across IKEA to fast-forward the development,” Ikea’s Range & Supply manager Peter van der Poel announced in a press release. For tech titans vying for position in a cramped market, this is not great news. For regular people looking for affordable alternatives to the status quo, it very much is.
From Ikea’s version of a smart hub to motion sensors, here’s what you need to know when laying the foundations for the most inexpensive smart ecosystem around.
The Ikea smart home ecosystem — which it sometimes calls “home smart” — begins with Trådfri. Before you buy two dozen bulbs and get in line for motorized blackout blinds, you need two things: a Gateway ($35) and a remote control ($16). The Gateway hooks into your Wi-Fi router and the remote control wirelessly connects to the Gateway and allows for pairing with all the stuff you want to control. Do not skip this step.
Pick Your Gear
The fun part. So far, the Trådfri gear collection includes bulbs, things that support bulbs and smart plugs. Bulbs are connected to the app through the remote control and can be passively controlled with the addition of motion sensors and dimmers. For now, the smart plugs are the black sheep in that they don’t do anything with the bulbs. But they still link to the app and can make “dumb” products smart using automatic start and stop timers (like a coffee maker), and they’re now joined by smart blinds, too.
Download the App
Available for free on the Play Store and App Store, Ikea’s smart home app serves as the web that strings everything together. The Gateway syncs with your phone via a QR code, the remote control pairs to the Gateway by holding a button at the base of the device and the bulbs and any other Trådfri accessories are paired to the network with the remote control. Once phone, Gateway, remote control and other stuff get to know each other, everything is controllable from the app.
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