Soon, virtually every device in your home will be connected to the Internet. Controlling the protocol these devices use to talk to each other would be highly lucrative, as you might imagine.

To better understand the massive market potential of home automation and control, consider the price Google paid for Nest -- $3.2 billion. Apple, meanwhile, has introduced the HomeKit software platform for its upcoming iOS 8 release. Dozens of other companies are all vying for a piece of the connected pie.

But we must measure the cost and ease of use of the systems these tech giants produce against existing products. The Iris system from Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), for example.

Lowe's: A different business model
I was able to chat with Tom Kerber recently about Lowe's and its strategy in this space. Tom is the director of research in the areas of home controls, energy management, and home networks for Parks Associates.

He says Lowe's is employing a different business model in the home automation market, one that allows consumers to buy an inexpensive kit and begin connecting their home on an incremental basis. In all, the Lowe's Iris system expands to motion sensors, HVAC control, lights and other plugged-in devices, wireless video cameras, water leak detectors, door locks, sprinkler systems, and even hose faucet timers.

In the video below, Tom explains more about the Lowe's business model, and how many players the home automation market can support.