Google economist: Health will drive connected 'smart homes'

Hal Varian, chief economist at Google says healthcare will be a driving force behind so-called smart homes, as opposed to consumer-facing novelties such as a toaster that talks to the fridge. "In the next decade there will be huge demand for home medical alert systems, and the market will respond to that need," Varian said, according to a recent FierceBroadband Wireless article.

His comments came in response to a survey on smart homes conducted by Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Out of 1,000-plus survey respondents, slightly more than half (51 percent) said they thought "smart systems" would be closer to reality in people's homes by the year 2020.  Article