it will have many clock-like features.
if the machine is idle 'too long' it will go into inhibit mode (won't keep pulsing the heating element, just let it go cold, then).
I might let it auto-warm up at 6am or turn on again at mid-day
a shot timer is useful (25 secs).
also a cleaning function! I just did a backflush of my rancilio and I could have used a feature that turns on the pump for 15 secs, waits 15 secs, turn it on again for 15 and repeat 5 or 6 times. you'd have to supervise it but it could do all the timing and on/off for you.
it could also keep track of how long its been (days) since the last cleaning; sort of like some home a/c units have a 'time to clean the filter' memo feature