Smart wood floors as part of the digital home, featuring a number of intelligent floor-related functions; from facilitating everyday life to a quick change of looks. This may be realized in the future through a collaboration project between flooring company Kährs Group and the Swedish innovation center Ideon Open. The goal has been to explore opportunities that arise through linking new technology to wood floors.
Spring 2016, Kährs turned to Ideon Open, an open and neutral meeting place for business and academia. The object was to tap from new, creative thinking when it comes to integrating smart functionalities in floors. Ideon Open, located in the university city of Lund in the south of Sweden, is part of Ideon Science Park, Scandinavia’s leading forum for innovation and entrepreneurship. Ideon encourages companies to reignite entrepreneurship and to break conventional thinking. This makes it an interesting partner for an innovation driven company like Kährs Group.
“We have always been good at developing wood floors, both when it comes to the aesthetics and the production process. But we also wanted to get some inspiration to identify future requirements and opportunities enabled by new technology,” says Emanuel Lidberg, Creative Design Manager at Kährs Group.
The collaboration project started with Ideon Open setting up a workshop on “floors of the future”, bringing together Kährs and a group of international students with different backgrounds and competencies, including design, economy and production. The goal was to evaluate new, potential development areas with focus on aesthetics, health, suitability, comfort and sustainability. Discussions spanned from how the world is changing to what impact this will have on requirements and opportunities when it comes to floors. The thoughts and ideas that came out of this were later grouped and evaluated.
“We picked out 15 exciting ideas linked to companies operating in technology and development. Then we let them elaborate on their ideas. Out of these 15, we have picked a number of particularly interesting potential partners,” Emanuel Lidberg says.
Ideas span from smart ways to solve everyday problems, where the technology is already available but need to be adapted to new use, to more visionary ideas regarding future, smart floors.
“By bringing together the challenges facing wood flooring with creative, bright young minds and technology from other industries, this project has a potential to make way for the development of new, smart wood flooring solutions”, says Emanuel Lidberg.
For further information, please contact:
Emanuel Lidberg, Creative Design Manager, Kährs Group tel: +46 73 804 63 05
Helén Johansson, Corporate Communication, Kährs Group, tel: +46 70 364 60 30
Mats Dunmar, Open Innovation Navigator/Manager Ideon Open, tel: +46 73 512 04 22, www.ideonopen.com
About Kährs Group
Kährs Group is a world-leading flooring manufacturer in hardwood and resilient flooring with a number of strong brands in its product portfolio, including Kährs, Karelia and Upofloor. The Company's innovations have shaped the industry throughout history and Kährs Group is dedicated to providing the market with innovative new flooring solutions. Kährs Group, which delivers products to more than 70 countries, is the market leader in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia and holds a strong position in other key markets, such as the UK and Germany. The Group has approximately 1,600 employees and annual sales of EUR 300 million. www.kahrsgroup.com