Shane Dyer is surrounded by a dozen or so home appliances made by a dozen or so different manufacturers. In his hand is a smartphone running a stylish app that can speak with every single one of them. It can turn on and off a series of light bulbs, check in on a smoke detector, and even change the temperature of a nearby fridge. It's a delicate, beautiful vision of the utopian smart home, and one that could hardly exist outside of his carefully crafted world.

But inside his utopia, Dyer is smiling. "We're at the very beginning of seeing what connectivity means," he says. As the CEO of Arrayent, one of a small group of companies that's popped up to help smart appliances connect, Dyer is one of the few people who can pull off even this basic magic trick of connectivity right now. It's a feat that seems so simple, but in reality is out of reach for all but the most dedicated homeowners right now.

If The Jetsons represents the dream of the smart home — one that knows who we are, where we are, and what we want — then we still must be living in the town of Bedrock. Appliance-makers have been trying to move the smart home forward for years now, but they've ended up stumbling over themselves and each other in the process.

Meet today's connected home: a collection of appliances and home gadgets that offer enhanced functionality but won’t work together in concert unless you happen to buy them all from the same manufacturer — perhaps a Samsung fridge, a Samsung stove, a Samsung washer, and a Samsung dryer.

That's not very smart. What the smart home really needs is one single way for appliances to speak with each other — a standard that can do for appliances what Wi-Fi did for laptops, tablets, and the internet. Creating that is a surprisingly daunting task, though, and both making and agreeing on one is the point that’s tripped up manufacturers worldwide.