Smart devices set to take over the family home, says Gartner header image

Published: 10th Sep 2014

Due to falling costs and improving internet services, the average family home could contain over 500 smart devices by 2022, suggests a new report from Gartner.

The information technology research and advisory firm believes homes will become a place of "dramatic evolution", with appliances slowly being traded in for smart devices and demand for improved connectivity increasing over the next decade.

Gartner forecasts the transition will happen between 2020 and 2025, but smart devices are already being manufactured and sold. These gadgets fall into numerous categories and range from media and entertainment devices, such as games consoles and televisions, to appliances, including cookers and washing machines, and healthcare and fitness equipment. 

Nick Jones, vice-president and analyst at the organisation, said: "We expect that a very wide range of domestic equipment will become 'smart' in the sense of gaining some level of sensing and intelligence combined with the ability to communicate, usually wirelessly.

"More sophisticated devices will include both sensing and remote control functions. Price will seldom be an inhibitor because the cost of the Internet of Things enabling a consumer 'thing' will approach $1 (£0.62) in the long term."

According to Gartner, the most vital part of the smart home will be wireless technology and it expects Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee to play larger roles in family homes over the coming years. 

However, for this to happen, the standards between different providers must come into line with each other and interoperability needs to be addressed. Due to this, the research and advisory firm believes there will be "technical fragmentation" until around 2020.

The report says that the number of devices in the smart homes of 2022 will see demand increased for stable connectivity, with some needing improved reliability as they will perform incredibly vital functions, such as health monitoring. This means many homes will require high-speed internet connections - something that is not yet available to every region of the UK.

Gartner claims that if these connections are not up to scratch or fail to provide the service required, the use of many smart domestic devices will be constrained and forced to work in a "degraded manner".

Currently, local governments are rolling out high-speed broadband across the country, but not every area is covered. Satellite broadband is an ideal alternative.