Gartner has a thought provoking press release on what apps might be doing by 2017. In summary, apps on smartphones might become data conduits for wearable devices. The data will be used for what’s called "Cognizant computing" that will allow intelligent actions to be taken on behalf of users. For example, needs can predicted and/or tasks completed automatically. As home and entertainment systems become more connected, more things can be controlled in this way.
Large companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are likely to be the pioneers in this area as they have existing connections to users and have the capability to store and process big data. However, I believe there still opportunities in this area. As Gartner says "Smart home solutions will likely span across various brands and platforms in order to become "intelligent" and deliver good user experience". Companies such as Google and Apple can’t cover all the bases. I can see smaller players being valuable as evidenced by Google’s purchase of Nest.