I was glad to see NTT DoCoMo USA labs showing a remote home control demonstration today, with Z-Wave connected power plugs to control appliances (think lights, coffee machines, etc.), a control center connected to the outside world with a 3G module and an app on mobile devices. Either from the central control server or from the mobile device you can check the current state of different appliances and switch them on or off.
Yes, the concept is certainly not new but so far practical implementations have not been very far spread. This one looks a lot closer to real life than what I have seen so far. Sorry for the somewhat blurry pictures on the left, need to bring a better camera or hold it more steady next time. And for all of you who wonder why I report on this seemingly quite off the beaten path topic, well, I think remote home control is an important ingredient in future network operator supplied service bundles.