A Kickstarter project is trying to marry home automation and the Internet of Things. You'll want one.
Ninja Sphere acts as an intelligent "hub" that connects to the separate devices you already own and helps them communicate with your other home automation gadgets without asking you to pull out your phone unless absolutely necessary. It does this in part by knowing where objects like your phone or your pets are located in relation to you. When a sensor notices some activity--the dog's Internet-connected collar sends an alert, for example--the Ninja Sphere tries to determine what action to take next.
Since the sphere can keep tabs on virtually any object that you attached a smart tag to, the possibilities become quite intriguing. Place a Bluetooth-enabled smart tag on your jewelry box, for instance. The Ninja Sphere could then detect that the box of valuables is moving, while also sensing that none of the owners' smartphones are nearby. It would then alert you to a potential theft in progress (or at least that the five-year-old is playing dress up with mom's best baubles).
The underlying trick is indoor location sensing, a technology that is quietly being installed in places like the Apple Store because it's useful to know where its shoppers are located and how they navigate around products. Indoor GPS, as it's sometimes called, could also help you as a smartphone owner navigate an office building you've never visited before.