By 2020 your car will be able to call for help via the internet from the plant where it was made - wherever in the world that is.

Common technology such as cars and home appliances will be connected to the mobile network by 2020.

Cellphone service provider Vodafone - the parent company of South African service provider Vodacom - estimates 20 million devices will be hooked into its New Zealand network by the end of the decade.

This figure is backed up by forecasts from Cisco, which claims there will be more than 15 million internet-capable devices in that country by 2015 - three for every New Zealander.

Vodafone's head of networks Tony Baird said a whole range of machinery would be connected to the web.

“I can imagine a day where all the cars and trucks across the country will be connected up so if your vehicle gets stolen they can track its movements and locate it,” Baird said.

“All your engine monitoring will be done through the mobile network. If you car breaks down it will contact the plant where it was made - wherever in the world that is - and they'll know where it was sold, and who the owner is and even what’s wrong with it, and thell’ll send somebody out to fix it,'' he said.

Other appliances such as vending machines would be hooked up to alert the service company when they were running low on stock, Baird said.

“A few years ago I went to a Cisco innovation centre in the US and they showed an intelligent fridge that knew from the barcodes of the food you put in it what was in the fridge - and ultimately would place an order online to buy more of whatever was running low. The potential for the technology is huge,'' he said. - New Zealand Herald