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.
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.