Since the 1970s, computer nerds have been automating home control with gizmos based on the X-10 radio standard. A lot's changed since X-10 was cutting edge, and a few proprietary systems have come along with improvements, but none became industry standards.
Now a startup named iControl Networks is seeking to drag home automation into 2010. The Palo Alto-based company just closed $23 million of funding according to VentureBeat, bringing their total capitalization to around $45 million. iControl will allow customers to use iPhone apps and PC interfaces to control their ADT security systems, heating, cooling, lighting and so on. They'll even be able to tap into security cameras on their property in real-time via iPhone. Cool stuff.
iControl, which markets its advantage mostly in terms of security, will also give homeowners granular control of their energy use. The company won't sell directly to consumers--just to broadband providers, who will in turn package the products into their service suites. But once these services start rolling out, count on some of the energy cost savings to offset the monthly subscription price.