How IKEA Will Build Business with the Connected Home & 3D Printing Trends

Brand exec talks to PSFK about emerging technologies and its forthcoming HomeSmart product line.

How does a brand take advantage of emerging trends? How do they go about exploring new ideas? I spoke to Rich D’Amico, Deputy Marketing Director at IKEA USA, about IKEA and how it’s looking seriously at the impact of 3D printing and introducing a line of connected home devices called HomeSmart.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK.com:  What is IKEA’s philosophy on the home of the future, and what will your role be as these homes become more connected?

Rich D’Amico, IKEA USA:  We have a new line coming out in the spring of 2015 called HomeSmart. It will start with charging each technology that’s actually built into products that will sit in the consumer’s home. We know that this market is going to get bigger and bigger. Through the interaction with consumers and the future trends that we see, that’s going to be the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to grow very, very quickly.

Piers Fawkes: Are we talking about outlets built into furniture or are we going to be some more sophisticated technology from IKEA?

Rich D’Amico:  It will be sophisticated and revolve around smartphones and tablets. One product has a device built into the tabletop.

Hacked IKEA notification table by Michael LaGrasta
Hacked IKEA notification table by Michael LaGrasta

 

Piers Fawkes: Another hot subject is 3D Printing. Do you think consumers are really going to want to print their furniture at home one day?

Rich D’Amico:  IKEA is developing a point of view about 3D printing. Personally, I’m fascinated by it. I know that there’s even 4D printing technology out there now, too. We’ve been talking and brainstorming about what that means for us. Why couldn’t consumers print spare parts, replacement parts, the entire product, some day?

I know that our team of product developers is working very closely with it now. It ties in beautifully with how IKEA develops products through co-creation, as If you ask me, how will we create products in the future? What will be the consumer’s role? I can see 3D and 4D printing playing a role there.

ikea-3d-printed-lamp-by-Samuel-Bernier
3D Printed IKEA Dentelle lampshades by Samuel Bernier

 

Rich D’Amico is Deputy Marketing Director at IKEA USA. Read more with an interview about IKEA and their brand strategy.

IKEA USA

Pictures via IKEA hackers Samuel Bernier and Michael LaGrasta

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