FORTUNE — Nobody knows what the world is going to look like when the things around us get smarter — when more and more of them are equipped with tiny radios that are connected to the Web.
Google has been experimenting with Internet-connected eye glasses, and in January it spent $3.2 billion to acquire Nest Labs, the leading purveyor of smart thermostats and smoke detectors. With Nest, it also got Tony Fadell, an ambitious ex-Apple engineering VP whose previous claim to fame was the iPod.
Apple has been seeding its stores with iBeacons — miniature BlueTooth detectors for communicating with iPhones — and it is rumored to be set to unveil, perhaps as early as next week’s developers conference, two new platforms: One for monitoring your health and one for controlling your home.
Who will make tomorrow’s smart devices and how they will interact with one another is anybody’s guess.
The Barry White scenario is unlikely, Evans points out, given the history of earlier technologies that achieved First World ubiquity — the small electric motor, for example, or the computer chip. They generally don’t share data unless they come packaged in a single device — a well-equipped automobile, for example.
Apple and Google would love to be the company that cashes in on — or at least controls — whatever turns out to be IoT equivalent of a modern automobile, with its hundreds of integrated chips and battery-powered activators. But they’re approaching it from different angles — angles that play to each’s strengths.