It is not uncommon for a household to have 15 or more devices connected to the internet. Usually devices consist of tablets computers and smart tvs, but when do air conditioners and washing machines get added to the list. “Bring it on,” Ms Boulos, 41, said. “Having things simplified and working through one connection – that would be awesome. That would make my life so much easier.”
A new report by technology research firm Telsyte shows in five years’ time the number of devices connected to the internet in the average Australian home will triple to 29.
When you reach home in the year 2020, you won’t have to bother with the keys. Your smart watch will trigger a facial recognition scan that, if you pass, will unlock the door.
While connected appliances such as washing machines that can be started via a mobile app are already on the market, our future “smart” homes will be filled with bins, kettles and lights that can talk to each other, offering greater efficiency and control.
The report shows that at peak times in the average household, these devices will be running 12 internet applications at the same time, up from eight.
IoT Group chief executive Simon Kantor wearing the OK Viper Phone Watch. Kantor says smart watches are the “entry level” device for the connected home.
Research firm Telsyte says the number of connected devices in our homes will soar. Graphic: Telsyte
“Right now, people are video chatting while streaming video on a smart TV. But app use is going to explode as internet connectivity is built into everything from white goods and lighting,” said Telsyte’s managing director Foad Fadaghi. “It’s called the internet of things.”
The report, commissioned by NBN, shows the biggest growth in app use will be seen in the “hectic” household – a family with children where parents often bring work home.
In the next five years, app use will jump from 12 to 19, as parents increasingly rely on work apps such as video conferencing and children use educational apps.
App use will also dramatically grow in the “suburban dreamer” household – where parents strictly see the home as place for down-time. App use will lift from seven to 13.
Simon Kantor, chief executive of wearable technology and gadget business The IoT Group, said the growth predictions made sense because connected devices were becoming more affordable and accessible.
He was expecting to sell 2500 Viper smart watches by year’s end through Coles. Instead, they’re on track to hit 10,000.
“Smart watches are the entry level to the connected home. Soon, your watch will talk to your front door which will let you in by your face through a facial recognition app, and a biometrics app running in the background,” he said.
“Our home automation suite, which we’re launching next year, will help you centralise your digital life in the home, with your lighting and heating automated.”
Ms Boulos said airconditioning controlled through an app would be a boon to her husband, who works an hour away from home. “All he wants to do is come home to a cool house, especially in summer” she said.
The Telsyte report also shows the “city living” household – a couple with no children – embraced connected technology early, with app use to modestly grow from 11 to 15.
The “empty nest” household is predicted to use the fewest number of apps, with usage set to rise from six to nine. But retired couples are expected to seek reliable broadband as they increase their use of video chatting and high-definition streaming.
The “shared” household – largely a mix of students and young workers – will also only slightly increase their use of apps, from eight to 12, because tight budgets will prevent them from splurging on connected devices.
But as heavy internet users, the report shows 85 per cent of people in this group say they will upgrade their broadband speed between now and 2020, if possible, compared to 60 per cent of all Australians.
Tony Brown, an NBN spokesman, said the impending boom in connected devices shows Australia has never been more in need of a fast and reliable broadband network.
“The problem you have with mobile networks in this regard is that it can provide very good speed but you don’t have the same stability of connection that a fixed broadband network such as the NBN offers,” he said.
“That’s important, because when you have a home with lots of devices connected to your broadband they need to be permanently talking to each other, consistently, so that the whole experience works.”
Ms Boulos said she would buy more smart items as their prices fell but she would also continue to enforce rules restricting internet use in her home. For her, it is important that her children, are not just things, are talking to each other.