IKEA’s stores are huge and, so are its revenues. In the financial year between September 2017 and August 2018, the Swedish multinational retailer made €38.8 billion in global revenues ($43 billion).
This clearly isn’t all profit though, because aside from what must be hefty operational costs, IKEA has just announced that it will “invest considerably” in the development and innovation of its Home Smart range, which will become its own business unit within IKEA of Sweden.
For those of us who haven’t got themselves lost in a nearby IKEA in recent years, the retailer’s Home Smart range consists in an increasing number of smart devices for the home, which via the wonders of the Digital Age connect to the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT). It first launched in 2012, and since then it has seen IKEA sell such products as smart lighting systems and smart speakers, all of which can be controlled via connected smartphone apps.
Yet it seems that such offerings were only the beginning, as explained by IKEA’s manager of “range and supply,” Peter van der Poel. “We have decided to invest notably in Home Smart across IKEA to fast-forward the development. This is the greatest new business we are establishing since the introduction of Children’s IKEA.”
No doubt this is exciting news for IKEA, but it’s also exciting news for the IoT and smart device industries. Because despite the hype and build-up that has been gathering around the Internet of Things since at least 2014, we still aren’t living in a world of “ubiquitous” computing, where every significant device or object is connected to the internet and controllable through your smartphone.