Q: Is there a way to remotely control my home’s air conditioning, alarms, lights, and other systems when I'm out of town?

There are a couple, advises Charles McGrath, executive director of the Home Automation & Networking Association, a Washington, D.C., trade group. “One is through the Internet and the second is from your cell phone,” he says. Either way, punching a few keys can activate an alarm, reset a thermostat, flip off lights, and control other systems, even from other time zones. Find a dealer at www.hanaonline.org.