Your voice just became a light switch.
BY DANIEL DASEY
You walk into a dark room, confidently order the lights to come on and – hey presto! – you’re instantly bathed in beautiful, warm light. Next, you command the light bulbs to turn blue or hot pink or maybe just to dim down a little and immediately they obey. What is this sorcery?!
2017 was the year that everyone was given the ability to perform a little magic with their home lighting. The introduction of the TRÅDFRI smart lighting range and its integration with voice-activated assistants from Google, Amazon and Apple allowed thousands of people to instantly change the atmosphere in their homes using simple voice commands.
Phrases like ‘Hey Google, dim the lights to 50 percent’, ‘Siri, turn off the lights upstairs’ and ‘Alexa, turn the sofa lights to warm white’ began to ring out in kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms across the planet.
Björn Block from the IKEA Home Smart business area, at IKEA of Sweden, explains the transformation started with the arrival of the TRÅDFRI system. In its most basic form, TRÅDFRI pairs a smart light bulb with a remote control, allowing people to simply and easily dim the lights in their home and transform bright spaces into cosy ones.
Simply roll the dimmer around in your hand to dim the lights.
The system also has more complex options that allow people to link individual bulbs together using the TRÅDFRI Gateway to control them via a dedicated app, and to select up to 20 different colours and shades of light.
While the team behind TRÅDFRI expected people to enjoy the range from the moment it was launched, even they were surprised at how eager customers were to experiment. “People were even more curious than we thought,” says Björn. “A far higher number than we anticipated have bought Gateways so that they can link together different lamps and control them all via their smart phone or tablet.”
Things got even cooler in the fall of 2017 with the arrival of smart-assistant compatibility. As well as controlling the system via the TRÅDFRI app and remote control, people could now control it through voice commands to Google, Amazon and Apple smart speakers. Google Assistant and Apple’s voice assistant Siri also allowed them to give voice commands via their phones. Suddenly, people were turning off the light to go to bed or turning their living rooms bright orange for an impromptu boogie session, just using their voices.
While the technology is impressive Björn says, all products in the IKEA Home Smart range are designed with the clear goal of making life better. “We will never launch something just because we can,” he says. “We only create things that make sense and when we see that people have a need for them.”
Now that’s magic!