Ikea has a new hub and app that can put an end to smart home usability issues. Ikea’s new Dirigera hub is official after a month of leaks and is set to arrive alongside the all-new Ikea Home Smart app. Unfortunately, the arrival of both the center and the new app is not scheduled until October.
This was around the same time that Matter, the new smart home standard that promises to make connected devices more interoperable, flexible and private, was supposed to launch. Did not matter If you buy it from the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, or any of the long list of companies that have already signed up.
Ahead of today’s announcement, Bjorn Block, Business District Manager, and Rebecca Torremann, Business Leader, demonstrated the new hub and app that work together in a real-time demo. I’ve seen multiple devices added – or ‘installed’ on Ikea-talk – without failure. It sure sounded intuitive and reliable, two words that most people wouldn’t easily associate with the company’s existing Trådfri portal and Home Smart app.
“With Dirigera and the new app, our focus is on enhancing and simplifying the onboarding process when connecting new smart products to the smart home,” says Torreman. “The strength of the experience is much more reliable, and I think that’s something we’re really proud of,” Block says. “It’s really something that constantly runs over and over again.”
Before we dive into what the new hub can do, let’s start with its name: Dirigera. It means “action” in Swedish. Ikea also calls it the “pivot” to distinguish it from the other white, disc-shaped “portal”.
As Ikea tells us, the old Trådfri gate that was first replaced in 2014 when Ikea’s smart home ambitions were just a hobby is still rooted in the lighting department. “When we did [Trådfri gateway]”We only learned about lighting,” Torreman says. “Smart homes were new to us and many of our customers as well.” As such, Ikea made the decision to make “routing devices” such as dimmers and switches the primary means of controlling Ikea smart bulbs. To add those LEDs to the Trådfri portal, you had to add their router first, which was…weird.
Home Smart became a full-fledged strategic business area in mid-2019 under Block’s leadership, placing it alongside traditional business areas such as living room, bedroom and textiles in importance to the company. Overnight, both Ikea embraced the block hobby on a budget that matched their ambitions.
The new Dirigera Center was developed by the smart home business district, with the insights the team has gained over the past eight years. This means that it was built from the ground up to support the entire Ikea Home Smart ecosystem as it exists today – covering lighting, blinds, sound and air purification – as well as what’s yet to come. I got a preview of this working at the end of 2019. Some of it has already made its way to Trådfri Gateway firmware releases and Home Smart app updates, helping improve the overall user experience. But the body can only do so much if the bones are bad.
The Block’s Home Smart team is leveraging their in-house software expertise during the pandemic to match Ikea’s skill in making furnishings for “many people”. (The company is very fond of repeating this phrase despite its questionable syntax, since it stems from the company’s motto: “Creating a better everyday life for the many.”)
“We’ve accelerated dramatically in the last couple of years. We’ve invested heavily in digital competence, hiring in every area from UX design and software development to data management and data privacy,” says Block. Coworkers who specialize in digital have a lot to teach life-at-home experts, vice versa “.
With Ikea’s smart home smart home now in order, Block believes everything is in place to fully embrace Ikea 2.0. “The prerequisites for mass adoption are here,” Block says. “So the mission we continue to be empowering the smart home for the many people, a smarter life for the many people, the democratization of the smart home – we see the opportunity is now open. It is a huge undertaking, of course, but it is also the greatest opportunity for IKEA to retain the leadership in life. at home “. Block believes that the trust Ikea has gained from customers who buy home furnishings will extend to sales of smart home products.
IKEA will continue to do the living rooms, kitchens and everything we expect from the company; Its products would get smarter if Block and Töreman had their way. That means more integrations like speakers built into lamps, bookshelves, and wall art; Wireless chargers built into desktop lamps and tablet computers; Air purifiers baked in side tables; And just about anything else Ikea home geeks can dream of.
“I might not call it a smarter home, or a smart home, because it’s really just a home,” Torreman says. “It’s the evolution of the house.”
Dirigera Material Turnkey Center
The new Dirigera axle is 2.7 cm high and 11.2 cm in diameter, making it nearly half the height and slightly wider than the old Trådfri gate which is 4.5 cm high and 11 cm wide. The new hub is equipped with an Ethernet port and a USB-C socket for power.
Ikea is calling the Matter Ready Center because it hasn’t been officially approved yet. The first batch of official Matter-certified devices is expected before the end of the year, but it’s not clear if that includes the Dirigera hub or if its certification will expire in 2023. When certified, the new Dirigera Hub and Home Smart app will support all Existing Home Smart products sold by Ikea as well as approved products from other companies. These devices can then be controlled individually or mixed and matched in scenes within the app.
Inside the Dirigera hub are Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Thread radios, allowing it to act as a Thread border router once everything is up and running. Thread is a primary protocol that Matter uses, and a boundary router is a bridge between the Thread network and Wi-Fi, which is the other protocol Matter uses. Sometime after the October launch, the Dirigera hub will be updated with the option to connect to your home internet router via 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi, as well as an Ethernet cable, which will be the only option on day one.
“The material enables us to create a more seamless experience for our customers and will enhance interoperability in smart homes and between smart products,” says Torreman. “For us, that means lowering the boundaries for those looking to build a smart home or expand their existing home because we know some clients have questions about what works for what.”
However, Ikea has left some ambiguity about which of its many smart products will originally support Matter, refusing to provide a list when asked. At this time, you only commit to making sure that “most of the [Ikea’s] The product range is basically compatible in the future. But it’s unclear if that means via the Dirigera hub, via software updates to existing equipment, or via product replacement – or perhaps all of the above. Ikea said Torreman is working to make sure its smart products “can be used in a seamless manner.” On a competing platform, that could also mean through Home Smart’s existing integrations with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
Remember that Matter does not cover all smart home devices yet. The current list is sockets, lights, switches, door locks, thermostats, blinds, sensors, garage door controls, wireless access points, bridges, and televisions. This means that Ikea’s low-priced Symfonisk series of Sonos-powered speakers isn’t part of this discussion yet. Sonos recently joined the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) that oversees Matter, which is at least an early positive sign.
Ikea also plans to launch remote access away from home in the first half of 2023. Currently, the only way to access your Ikea devices from outside the home is by integrating your Ikea Trådfri portal with Apple, Google or Amazon smart home networks . Ikea says it will develop its own cloud to handle remote access rather than relying on existing networks.
Trådfri portal owners will not be able to use the new app coming out in October, and the portal will not be updated to support Matter. However, the existing portal and Home Smart app will continue to be supported and receive security updates and patches “for at least three years,” according to Torreman.
There will also be no upgrade deals; Trådfri owners will have to pay full price for the Dirigera hub when it launches in October, but all of your Ikea Home Smart devices should migrate just fine. The Dirigera hub’s final price is still TBD, but it will cost more than the Trådfri Gateway, which currently sells for $29/€29. “It’s a little more expensive because it also has more capabilities and more functionality,” says Torreman.
Presented by IKEA the edge With a few recorded demos showing the interaction of the Dirigera hub and the new app. They were recorded live by Tureyman in her home. We’re looking into the beta program, so things might change a bit by the time the hub and app ships in October.
Dirigera hub installation is direct.
Setting a new hub skips the QR code used in the past, and instead chooses a new action button on the hub that must be pressed during detection. Once you find it, you’ll be prompted to name your home and set up the rooms—yes, the new app organizes devices around rooms, not groups of smart devices connected to routers like dimmers and switches. You can then add multiple consoles and smart devices to those rooms and manage how they interact with scenes.
Add a room to the new Home Smart app.
Rooms can be customized with icons and colors, as shown in the video above. Besides rooms, Ikea will continue to offer a managed appliances section to sort the home by appliances like lights and blinds, for example.
Add Ikea products to the rooms.
The new app improves on clickable (or mute) tutorials, and shows every step a user must take to add new devices. It even shows how quickly actions should be taken to remove any guesswork from the hardware reset process, for example. Product animations now feature rich illustrations depicting such things as blind height and lamp brightness to help users fine tune scenes in order to create the desired atmosphere.
Despite all the focus on the new app, Ikea isn’t giving up on its four-interface approach to its smart home ecosystem: the app, smart shortcut buttons to trigger automation, remote controls, and voice control. “When we look at the smart home, we see inclusion is really key,” Block says. “It shouldn’t just be for tech-savvy people, it should be for parents, grandparents, kids, but also guests.” Voice control still requires integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, as it is not built into the new Dirigera hub.
It looks like Ikea is on the right track with the Dirigera and the overhauled Ikea Home Smart app. They strike a good balance in catering to first-time owners of smart devices without slowing the process down too much for connoisseurs who already own dozens of Ikea devices. But we won’t know for sure until we get our hands on a new review device and app to see how it works with existing Ikea Home Smart devices — and later with those elusive Matter-compatible ones.
But for anyone frustrated by Ikea’s Trådfri portal, now at least you have some hope to stick with and a rough schedule to plan for your concern.