IKEA made shockwaves through the industry when it announced a partnership with multi-room speaker manufacturer, Sonos. While we’re still waiting for the fruits of that labour, the two companies have shown off what the collaboration could bring – with non-functional prototypes recently shown off at Ikea’s Democratic Design Days in Sweden.
Dubbed the Symfonisk range, these speakers will be designed to integrate into the Sonos multi-room ecosystem. What’s more, they’ll be significantly more affordable than most Sonos speakers currently on the market. It’s not known whether the lower price will sacrifice sound quality, with IKEA known for bringing high-quality products to market at a lower price, but we’re sure Sonos wouldn’t want IKEA customers to have a better value experience than their own.
Björn Block, Business Leader for IKEA Home Smart, notes, “Many people dream of built-in sound systems, but few can afford it. Our goal is for our collective work to save space, get rid of cords, make clutter invisible, and bring sound and music into the home in a more beautiful way.”
Installers tend to use Sonos speakers for their convenience and value for money, as there are certainly better sounding speakers on the market, but could IKEA offer an alternative that will perfectly integrate with a homeowner’s furniture? That’s what is being suggested by these prototypes, with at least one prototype featuring a bracket that makes it possible to use the speaker as a shelf, or to hang it underneath a kitchen cabinet. While most high-end clients will be unlikely to shop at IKEA, the furniture retailer has been known to employ striking designs in its electronics offerings. That includes the recently announced Eneby speaker.
IKEA and Sonos have confirmed that their collaboration will lead to a lower priced entry into the Sonos ecosystem, but neither have alluded to how much users should expect to pay. Considering the currently entry into the ecosystem starts at around £199 for a Sonos One, you can expect to IKEA to target pricing below that.
Despite the IKEA/Sonos partnership being the most high profile, the Swedish furniture retailer has showcased its commitment to the smart home market in recent years. It’s already launched a smart lighting solution, while it has also partnered with Teenage Engineering for a line of party speakers. Both the Teenage Engineering and Sonos mash-ups won’t arrive before 2019, however.