Smartphones the Key to Home Connectivity

In the home of the (very near) future, all appliances will be connected – everything from refrigerators and dishwashers to microwaves and televisions. And as a recent feature piece on Wired highlighted, the smartphone and its applications will be the “magic wand” that connects them all together. Take a look:

What we’re seeing started with the birth of the smartphone, when gadgetmakers realized smartphone integration could add tremendous value to consumers’ product experiences. It started with simple apps that transform your phone into a remote control for a DVR or set-top box, letting you use a touchscreen to navigate complex user interfaces. It grew with apps that tie into our home security systems and, more recently, our appliances. Remembering if the milk in your fridge is past its prime or whether you have recipes based on the things in your freezer was once the stuff of The Jetsons, but is increasingly commonplace today.

There will be some 24 billion connected devices by 2020. That figure certainly doesn’t seem beyond reach given the number of smartphones out there (300 million shipped in the first half of 2012, according to Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs) and the number of connected devices and appliances seen at CES 2013. The theme of LG’s entire booth, for example, was “Touch the Smart Life.” The Korean company had 20,000 square feet of space dedicated to showing people how appliances that can communicate with the web, and one another, will transform their lives for the better. Dozens, if not hundreds, of other booths stretched across the North and South halls of CES showed how this “world of tomorrow” technology is here now, in everything from web-connected TVs to vacuum cleaners.

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