You can control the heating/cooling temperature, on either pattern or exception. So, the system can learn that you're usually home around 5.30p and have your house at exactly the temp you like when you arrive. Or, you can tell it you're on the way home at 12n today and it will have the house ready for you early. Same thing with lights/etc. Even if you like to do those things yourself, computers are more efficient. In the temp example, say you told your home you need to stay out until 9.30p one night - the temp would hover at whatever is cheapest (no heating/cooling) until it needed to turn on in order to be ready for your later arrival time and then turn on - this has potential to be much more efficient and save you money.