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2011 has been an interesting year! The year started with a large number of HA vendors showing off Plug based products that would interface with their products and things like Z-Wave (very popular), ZigBee and Insteon. The end of 2010 saw the US government standardizing on ZigBee for it's energy initiatives. With tablet style devices becoming more common place we've seen a lot of Apps for home automation.
Currently Z-Wave has a nice lead on ZigBee and I'd say that it's become the standard of the day for home automation. Z-Wave appears to be one of the first to bring out a product line that measures energy usage in the device modules. ZigBee also has such features but it lags Z-Wave's availability. Insteon also appears to be getting into this part of the market but is late to market.
Of course they would love if we had a house full of their products but I don't see that happening for a while so to monitor the home's power you can get devices like kill-a-watt, TED or my favorite: the Brultech ECM-1240 which can monitor the mains and 5 circuits.
The plug computer seems to made the biggest difference as it's small, quiet, low powered and can basically be ignored and hidden away. I'll speak more about this later.
We're seeing more and more applications being moved into the cloud. We're already familiar with email (Gmail, Yahoo, etc), shared documents (file sharing, Google Docs, Flicker) and of course storage but now processing power (databases) and software services (SOAP, REST and Web Services) can be purchased via the cloud. This leads to more being done in the cloud. One such service is image processing from cheap home IP cameras. The service processes the images from the cameras and provides motion detection and security services to the customer. All handled in the cloud.
M2M, think OnStar for your home except you don't hit the Blue button. Things like your appliances communicate with services for your benefit. If you have a Nook then you've experienced M2M which is tightly tied to Cloud Services