Refrigerators of the future could let people know remotely when they are running low on milk as part of the rapid advance of the internet, a university expert said.
Within five years humans could be receiving more texts from machines than humans, according to Dr Kevin Curran.
He said security should be the main priority for connected devices – especially since it is difficult to tell if a fridge has a virus.
"Within the next five years, using mobile devices simply for communication will seem outdated."
The University of Ulster reader in computer science said what he termed the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow consumers to interact with nearly every appliance and device they own.
He added: "Your refrigerator will let you know when you're running low on milk, your dishwasher will inform you when it's ready to be emptied. "It's possible that you will be getting more text messages from your devices than from human beings."
He said some examples had already reached the marketplace, controlling the lights and temperature, closing the garage door while across town, receiving alerts from a smoke detector.
He warned: "However, like any new technology or idea, there are kinks that need to be worked out.
"If IoT is campaigning to run nearly every aspect of people's digital lives, we need to consider factors that will ensure a seamless and safe introduction. Three in particular – security, standards, and overburdened networks – require critical focus before mass IoT adoption."
He noted the ease and convenience of paying bills online and shopping also carried the risk of having personal information compromised.
He said manufacturers needed to monitor their devices constantly for unusual activity on networks.