By 2022 the typical smart home in wealthier markets could be plastered with hundreds of smart devices, according to analyst firm Gartner.
While consumers can already buy smart things such as Nest's home thermostat and smoke alarm, smart light bulbs and smart TVs, the 'mature smart home' is still a decade away when the market does mature — which the analyst predicts will be around 2020 to 2025 — homes probably be hooked up with more than 500 data-driven smart devices.
The broad categories these fit into include power and utilities, lighting, media and entertainment, security and sensors. And then there is the other stuff people have in their houses: Gartner's examples include shaving and grooming equipment; air fresheners; pet feeding bowls; musical instruments; plumbing and sanitation equipment; and DIY tools. This category also includes ultra-low-cost disposable items, such as smart packaging.
Then there are home appliances, vehicles, wearables and clothing, office equipment, such as security shredders and smart waste bins, outdoor items such as irrigation systems, smart barbecues, and lawnmowers, as well as toys and games, air-conditioners and tags and tracking items for pets, luggage and keys.
Gartner's estimate comes as Apple readies to launch iOS 8 with its new Home Kit tools for developers to build apps for home automation, such as switching off lights or opening the garage door from a phone or possibly a wearable.
As the analyst firm notes, price will not be the main inhibitor to smart device take-up because making consumer items 'smart' with sensors and remote control functionality will be around $1 over the longer term. Rather, initial take-up will be slow because bigger ticket items such as fridges and TVs are not replaced frequently.
Consumers will also probably need to invest in a range of gateways and adapters to handle the mix oflikely to be adopted in different devices, which Gartner expects will include wi-fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, as well as mobile, proprietary and mesh networking technology.
Power is the second major issue that IoT devices will have, given that many will be portable, which could in turn spur the development of better storage and wireless charging that's already emerging for smartphones, and which Intel wants to roll out for all PCs by 2016.
Having so-many connected devices in the home will make reliable and high-speed internet all the more necessary, given that some will serve critical purposes, such as monitoring the health of occupants.
"If these connections fail, many domestic devices might be forced to operate in, at best, a degraded manner. If homes become as dependent on good connectivity as businesses they will need fallback systems," said Nick Jones, vice president at Gartner.
Security experts are already prodding smart things and have found flaws in light bulbs and . Meanwhile, Google's acquisition of Nest caused alarm over what extra information it could glean about people's lives from the thermostat.
Given the vast number of connected items in the house, it probably will be difficult for consumers to keep track of how their data is used, let alone the security of the devices themselves. Gartner noted that there could be a "consumer backlash" if they find information is abused.
"Business models that analyse information, especially those that combine information from several sources, must pay great attention to issues such as consumer opt-in, education and data security, and product developers should consider external audits of their information usage," it warned.