Cue up the jokes about assembling speakers on your own: Smart speaker maker Sonos and iconic Swedish furniture retailer Ikea announced a new partnership to create “future home sound experiences” Wednesday. There’s no word yet on what the two companies exactly will do together, but it does sound like it will go beyond just selling Sonos speakers at Ikea stores.
“We believe that sound should be a considered element of home design, and together we will work with Ikea to create products and experiences that make people’s home look and sound more amazing,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence in a statement.
“Together with Sonos we want to democratize music and sound in the home, and we want to create products designed for how people listen together at home,” said Ikea smart home business leader Björn Block.
The partnership is intriguing for several reasons. Ikea doesn’t typically sell products from other brands in its stores, and Sonos has never licensed its audio technology to other manufacturers. However, it’s possible that Sonos could produce an Ikea-exclusive product — perhaps a speaker that’s priced below the current entry-level $200 Sonos One.
Ikea has started to venture into the smart home market, introducing wireless charging solutions for mobile devices in 2015, and selling smart lighting solutions since last year. As part of the latter, Ikea also introduced a smart home hub, which could easily be extended to work with existing as well as upcoming Sonos products.
For Sonos, the most important part of the partnership could easily be the retail foothold. Sonos has had its products in a number of retail stores for years, including Apple Stores.
However, in most of these locations, consumers can’t actually try the products, especially not in an environment that resembles their own living room. That’s why the company literally build little homes into its flagship New York store. With Ikea, Sonos will likely be able to demonstrate its products in this kind of setting to many more consumers.
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