Smart Technology to Outfit Your Home

This month, I’ve invited my husband Andrew Chang, who loves technology, to write an article about smart technology for the home:

The right technology can make your life more comfortable, save you time, and keep you safe. Good technology blends into, and even enhances, your everyday routines. Here are four technologies to consider:

1. Voice-Controlled Assistants

You can talk naturally, across the room, to these wifi-enabled devices and they’ll respond. My most common questions and requests are: “What’s the weather today?,” “Play classical music on Pandora,” “Set a timer for 5 minutes,” “Play Jeopardy,” and “Turn off the bedroom light.” You’ll find yourself, and your whole family, using these home assistants multiple times a day. We have an Amazon Echo in the living room and an Amazon Echo Dot in the bedroom. Both Google and Apple have their own home assistants product as well.

The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated device that plays music, tells you the weather, and turns on/off the lights:

2. Smart Plugs and Lighting

You can buy a wifi-enabled smart plug that sits between any light or appliances you want to control and the electrical outlet in your wall. Or, you can buy wifi-enabled light bulbs. Then, you can use your voice-controlled assistant or your smartphone to turn things on and off. When you’re traveling, you can schedule the plugged-in lights to randomly turn on and off to make it look like you’re still at home.

3. Home Security

Home security experts suggest you first do all of the basics — locking your doors and windows and installing motion-activated lights. Then if you want to take a step further, consider indoor or outdoor security cameras. There are a lot of choices. The most affordable option is to install realistic decoy cameras for $10 a piece as a deterrence. Alternatively, you can get real cameras, which have capabilities such as motion or infrared (body heat) activation, night vision to capture videos in the dark, and cameras that store videos on the internet via your wifi network. We have the Arlo Pro system with three wireless cameras mounted outside our home, pointing at each major entrance. They were very easy to set up and come with seven days of free cloud storage for videos.

An Arlo Pro camera is mounted outside each major entrance to our house.

4. Personal Cleansing in the Bathroom

Two different neighbors of ours rave about their bidet toilet seats. This seat fits on top of your existing toilet and connects to your existing water source. You can get heated seats, spray washing with warm water to stay clean, and hands-free operation. We don’t have one, but I can see how it would be appealing.

If you’re interested in these products, I’ve created an Amazon wishlist so that you can explore these products and read user reviews online.

Andrew J Chang is a Product Manager at GoFundMe. You can follow him on Twitter: @achang

Riguerra Design is an innovative, award-winning design firm that has helped many clients create their dream homes. Check out her website at for more information.

This article is also published in The PILOT, the monthly publication of the Redwood Shores Community Association (RSCA).