Particle Accelerator

Wireless Technology Has Become a Piece of Ikea’s Strategy

According to Pacific Standard magazine, Ikea uses about 1 percent of the world’s wood supply each year. Much of this is ground up into wood chips and pressed together to become particleboard. This material goes on to become roughly 100 million pieces of assemble-it-yourself furniture.

Ikea’s core hardware ingredients are wood chips and hex nuts, a fact that would seem to contrast it with Apple, which relies on silicon and software. Nonetheless, the Swedish company was recently highlighted as an Apple partner. Ikea isn’t a Silicon Valley business, but it’s embracing mobility as a component of its products and reputation.

Last week, as Apple introduced its latest iPhones, Ikea announced its Ikea Place iOS app based on Apple’s ARKit augmented reality development platform.

The app enables iPhone users to view the placement of virtual 3D renders of furniture scaled and shadowed correctly in a room. In its press release, Ikea stated that its goal is to make buying decisions easier by offering an accurate indication of how a piece of furniture will look in a shopper’s real-life setting. The company says that it scales objects with 98 percent accuracy. The app doesn’t support direct purchases, but it does help decision-making. It also shows the home goods retailer is on the cutting edge.

Almost three years ago, Ikea revealed that it would begin to add Qi wireless charging capabilities to its products. This was perhaps the greatest endorsement for the technology and for the Qi standard specifically, until Apple adopted the feature in its latest iPhone 8 and iPhone X models.

Ikea is playing a supporting role in the roll-out of the latest iPhone features. This is an interesting overlap between two industries, which, up until recently, have been unrelated.

The Ikea brand logo played a cameo role in Apple’s announcements, thanks to its efforts to remain ahead of the wireless curve. It doesn’t make smartphones or offer cellular service, but executives realised that, as the world’s largest furniture company, it should be connected to the market for the world’s most ubiquitous electronics device. Ikea is also making similar moves in the smart lighting segment and we believe the big traditional lighting manufacturers are keeping a close eye on developments.

Ikea’s investment in hardware and software initiatives highlights that all companies need to have some form of mobile strategy to keep them connected to the great world of wireless devices.