"Personal" power management is motivated primarily by reducing the individual's energy consumption, whereas the "infrastructure" solution using smart-meters and embedded processors in appliances (which the smart meter controls) is motivated by the utilities desire to smooth out energy consumption more evenly during the day. Your Winter Park example is revealing in that it was infrastructure oriented and yet also reduced your personal power bill. Thus whichever direction coming from--personal or infrastructure--eventually they will converge. In other words, if everybody reduced their personal energy consumption that would also smooth out the grid infrastructure (and visa versa). Consequently, in my view the personal and infrastructure approaches will meet in the middle where everybody benefits, circa 2020.
"Personal power management may put you in charge", but it only matters when time of day power rates hit the residential market. At that time it will become worthwhile for users to shift loads from peak time to low demand times. Alternatively, the power company could install a remote controlled device that allowed them to briefly shutdown heavy power use appliances during peak demand periods in exchange for lower utility rates (no user intervention required). We had that in 1998 in Winter Park, Florida and were pleased by the lower power rates we received in exchange.
You are right that these are technologies to watch in the coming years too, however there will be commercial examples of every one of these categories in 2011 (except perhaps fully biodegradable electronics, where progress is being made--for instance in implants that dissolve--but the main progress in 2011 will be in better recycling on the way to "compostable" electronics).
It is true that the Human machine interfacing is advancing a lot and the machines are getting a lot more intelligent to understand humans better.There will be a new language originating to communicate with machines, like the sign language or gestures.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.