Fewer than 20 percent of Californians program their thermostats. Although initially eye-opening, the statistic is hardly shocking. Have you ever fiddled with them? Memories of programming a VCR come to mind. That’s part of the reason that a University of California professor is coming up with next-generation smart thermostat technology that places an emphasis on user friendliness and smart meter connectivity. The combination of the two could have profound effects. If users don’t feel stymied by the technology, they’re more likely to enable energy-saving features and one day let their favorite web-enabled dashboards find a suitable balance between comfort, efficiency and cost savings. For companies in the bustling home energy monitoring and management space, it’s another factor to consider during their product planning.