Companies see big profit in the Internet of Things

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The home of the future — complete with helper bots and automated appliances — has long been the stuff of science fiction. The tech world is determined to make it a reality.

Soon, the vision goes, everything from garden products to bathroom appliances will be controlled with the touch of a smartphone. Without setting foot in the door, a person headed home could turn off the security system, turn on the shower, and begin preheating the oven.

The concept of outfitting everyday objects with sensors and connecting them to the Web, often called the Internet of Things, has been brewing for several years. But the announcement last week that Google was paying $3 billion to acquire Nest, a maker of Internet-connected home products, put a sort of Good Housekeeping seal of approval on this nascent market.

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