Since I am an engineer, my wife thinks that I have the tendency to overthink things. A recent discussion led to the topic of advanced thermostats. This company has a few interesting ones. I like the idea of connecting it to a home-automation system so that it turns the yard lights on at the same time that it goes into night-time and day-time power saving modes. The other feature I'd like to see is a built in panic alarm that calls you if the temperature drops below or above a certain point to protect your pets in an emergency or allow a remote control to tell it to warm the house up, we're on our way home.
I also looked into advanced doorbells, this one rings your home phones with caller-ID that indicates which of many possible intercoms is ringing and allows you to speak with the person before running to the front or back doors.