Forget your run-of-the-mill refrigerator. Make way for an Internet-connected fridge instead. Or how about activating your NFC-enabled dishwasher that also connects with your wireless kitchen gear? Welcome to the world of connected home devices-a smart home where appliances are controlled by Internet access and Wi-Fi. Once connected, these devices can add 'intelligence' to your home. They also ensure that everything works in harmony-be it in the field of entertainment, education, home automation, security, or energy efficiency. According to a new report, the global connected home market-comprising consumer electronics, home computers, and mobile devices-will be worth $101 billion in 2013.
Making devices more intelligent and connected has been a goal of manufacturers for several years now. Recent efforts by Google to install its Android operating system on rice cookers and refrigerators have made headlines. Android can help appliance makers to dominate the market for Internet-controlled gadgets-a market that will reach more than $2 trillion in 2015, as per IDC reports.
Recently, a consumer electronics giant unveiled an Android-based refrigerator that can also run a popular note-taking and memory-aid app. So, for instance, if you create a grocery list on the refrigerator, the list will instantly sync to your smartphone. Coming up next is an NFC-enabled line of appliances by a leading manufacturer, to be launched this year.
In addition, technology companies are working on a smart TV OS concept that offers features such as pause and play with facial recognition. A light switch now allows users to control the lighting in houses over Wi-Fi or mobile networks. Several products are in the market that let users turn on or off lights in houses and even put them on a customized schedule, using a phone or tablet.
Also, a widget-based home automation service lets users control temperature, security, and even plant watering cycles from their smartphone. Various home security companies too are developing apps to enable remote access to home security gadgets.
Clearly, a connected home spells comfort, security, and efficiency with minimum human intervention. The popularity of such devices will also open up new markets for operators, mobile device manufacturers, and app developers. In the coming days, those who manage to tap these opportunities to develop applications will emerge the leaders, differentiated by expansive revenue streams and strong profits.