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The Race to Cash In on the Connected Home

Expectations that the smart home will become one of the next big technology markets are running high. But who will pay what amount for Internet-connected thermostats, security systems and services—and to whom—isn’t yet clear.

It’s a big question—some $300 billion big, according to Gartner Research, which estimates that the market for the so-called “Internet of Things,” namely ordinary devices that are connected to the Internet, could reach that amount by 2020. Gartner also estimates that the average home will have more than 500 connected devices by 2022, with the cost to make a device “smart” with sensors and remote control capabilities ultimately heading toward $1.

When it comes to introducing these services, different approaches are taking shape, including a subsidized device model being tested by Google-owned Nest Labs, direct hardware sales like Sonos and potential tie-ins to e-commerce like Amazon’s new Echo speaker.

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Obviously, privacy concerns about this approach would run high. But it has the benefit of being able to offer consumers services, like apps that help users cut their home energy bills drastically, at no additional cost.

Sam Whitmore commented on this article.
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The mother lode of the smart home, however, might be use of its data to target advertising.