While sitting at your desk at work, your phone rings. It's your friends from out of town, unexpectedly early. You tell them to hold and using your computer or telephone you call your house. After pressing a few buttons on the phone or computer, you tell your friends to go on into the house. (While they were holding you unlocked the door, turned off the security system, and turned on the stereo.) As they enter the unlocked door, lights come on and a friendly voice welcomes them to your home.
On the way home you decide after the long trip they might want to relax in the hot tub. Again using the phone, you call the house and instruct the hot tub to turn on and warm up.
As you arrive home and greet your guests personally the front door bell rings. You go to the nearest TV and view who is at the front door. Seeing it is a salesman, you pick up the closest phone and talk to him without leaving the room. While handling this you lost track of where the guests are. Turning to another channel on the TV you can see a variety of rooms... there they are in the Home Theater. You pick up your universal remote and turn on the sound and video systems and select a movie channel for them.
As you enter the theater you notice the room is too cool... simply speaking to your automation system you say "raise temperature 5 degrees." Magically the room warms up.
While watching the movie the phone rings; on the TV screen the name and number of the caller magically appears. Since it is a telemarketing sales call, you choose to ignore the call and let it go to voice mail. A few minutes later the phone rings again. This time the system tells you it is your wife calling from her car. You tell the system to ask her to hold and go to another room where you can talk privately.
After a full evening of visiting with your friends, everyone gets ready for bed. Since you need to get up early, you set up your system to wake you a half hour early and turn on the coffeepot early. The next morning your system turns on the lights and starts soft music gradually staging louder to wake you up. By the time you get to the kitchen, the coffee is ready.
As everyone is leaving the house you set your security system. The house then turns all lights off and sets the temperature back.
All this may sound too good to be true, but we now have the ability to do everything mentioned. With simple voice commands, telephones, and control switches all these things can be controlled into your home now.