Slowly creeping in
I started reading this thinking "Oh god, another Tomorrow's World special on things that will never happen".
Then I realised, we already have a signal-man that uses an accoustic sensor to monitor the level of oil in the tank and calls the oil company for a re-fill if it gets too low. I didn't even pay for that - the oil company supplied and fitted.
And, when we got our new oil-fired boiler three years ago they threw in a wireless controller. So the heating is fully programmed and, for example, I can stick it in the youngest's room overnight (which tends to be the coldest) and it will ensure the room never drops below 16C.
I also have a £15 all-in-one remote which, from a single button press, will turn on the TV and blu-ray and switch the TV onto HDMI-1 (amongst other things).
And, whilst not automated yet, we get our shopping delivered each week by Tesco. I can use my Android phone, during the week, to take a snap of the barcode of anything I've emptied (cereal boxes etc) and they just get added to the list. On a Monday night I then log in to the current order where it tells me what I ordered last week, what I usually order and if there are any specials on things I've ordered in the past. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the list and it gets delivered Tuesday night. I can see that process becoming more and more automated over the next few years.
Home automation isn't just coming. It is here. But it is here in ways that we tend not to notice - which is surely the whole point.