The often-ignored and hardly ever programmed humble thermostat is morphing into a unique and undercover gateway into the smart home -- that is, the dream of the fully connected house where all the objects can talk to one another and be controlled remotely. In 2012 there will be a growing number of companies across sectors -- from device makers to analytics firms to utilities to telcos -- that are now suddenly looking at the networked, digital thermostat as an important way to connect with consumers. Here are the players and what you need to know about working with them.
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