As we march further into the 21st century, Australian homes are set to become integrated tech hubs packed with oodles of automation. Sensors, high-end CPUs and transmitting devices will all become fixtures in everyday furniture, essentially turning your house into one giant smart device. If you're keen to join the revolution early, there are a swag of relevant products already available from IKEA. Here are some highlights you can get in Australia; from wireless-charging tables to self-watering plant pots.
This year, IKEA is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Australia. As part of its big expansion plans, the Swedish furniture giant is planning to introduce more smart devices to its product lineup to satisfy an increasing demand for connected homes. According to the company's own research, the concept of the home as an ecosystem of smart technologies will become a mainstream reality within the next 10 years.
For IKEA, this translates to making traditional furnishings smarter by integrating more tech with an emphasis on automation and self-awareness. In addition, the inner–city lifestyle of its core customer base will see a surge in green and nature-friendly products for the household, both in terms of the materials used and their intended function.
Currently, most of the exciting developments in this space have only been released overseas (boo!). However, we managed to find a few local IKEA products that do fit the futurist bill, along with a handful that have been confirmed to appear very soon. Here they are, in no particular order:
The Varv table lamp does exactly what it says on the tin: it will wirelessly charge compatible smartphones when placed on the included pad. It costs $US69.99 in the US and should be landing in Australia later this year. A floor lamp version is also available.
The Selje nightstand adheres to the same principle as the Varb table lamp, but without the light and for $10 cheaper. It will also be available from IKEA's Australian stores later in the year.
IKEA's self-watering plant pots are another self-explanatory concept -- they release stored water periodically so you don't have to keep remembering. The range consists of three products: the Gronpeppar ($4.99), Sotcitron ($12.99) and PS Fejo ($39.99), all of which are currently available in Australia.
IKEA's Ilse Crawford-designed Sinnerlig range attempts to integrate nature and greenery into urban dwellings. The range is made from all natural materials and includes cork-covered tables, bamboo-lattice pendant lights and hand blown glass bottles. It should be available from August.
Another product for people mired in urban sprawl: it's a miniature greenhouse that you can hang on the wall or rest on a flat surface. The design is based on a Swiss chalet. It goes for $34.99 and is currently available in Australia.
Folkvanlig electric bicycle
The Folkvanlig is currently being trialled in a handful of European markets as a way to encourage people to go green and leave their cars at home. When it eventually arrives in Australia you can expect to pay a stupid amount for it -- it's asking price currently sits just north of $1000. You can find out more about the product over at Gizmodo.