Think the net is all about streaming videos and checking a friend’s Facebook status?

That’s the least of it, if predictions come true.

Actually, life could get very inter-connected, with just about everything imaginable wired to communicate with other things. In other words, while you’re checking that Facebook status, your cell phone is talking to your refrigerator.

Homes, cars, appliances, medical devices, and more could constitute the next wave of market growth.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from eMarketer entitled “Key Digital Trends for Midyear 2014: The Internet of Things, Net Neutrality, and Why Marketers Need to Care.”

The economics of connecting up all the unconnected devices, machines, and systems will involve vast numbers of new internet-enabled objects — and big, big sums of money.

What are the forecasts? The estimates are sky high:

  • International Data Corporation predicts the worldwide market for “internet of things” (IoT) solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.
  • MarketsandMarkets gives the IoT market a more conservative—but still lofty—valuation of $1.029 trillion in 2013, increasing to $1.423 trillion by 2020.
  • Gartner forecasts 26 billion connected objects worldwide by 2020 (a figure that does not include PCs, smartphones and tablets).
  • IDATE projects 80 billion internet-connected things in 2020, up from 15 billion in 2012. This figure does include PCs, TVs and smart devices, but the vast majority (85 percent) will be objects like car tires or shipping pallets that may communicate with the web via an intermediate device.
  • Cisco Systems predicts 50 billion things will be connected by 2022, yielding $19 trillion in new revenues ($14.4 trillion of which will accrue to private-sector corporations).

“There’s no doubt the world is moving toward a more connected future, but the speed with which consumers and enterprises make the transition to the internet of things is still to be determined,” said Noah Elkin, executive editor at eMarketer. “The timing of adoption will determine just how much money and how many things are involved.”

While there is no standard definition for the “internet of things” (IoT), the term generally identifies an advanced level of networked connectivity between objects, platforms, systems, and services that enables the exchange of data without human intervention. Any object, it is conjectured, “can gain the ability to transmit data over a network.”