Technology has invaded the home. Smart devices are in every room, from the basement to the living room to even the kitchen and bathroom. According to a report from MarketsandMarkets Research, the smart home market is expected to grow from $76.6 billion in 2018 to $151.4 billion by 2024. Kitchen and bath manufacturers have taken note of this growing market and are designing smarter products to meet consumer needs and expectations.
Walking the halls of the 2019 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, attendees saw everything from high-tech water-conserving toilets, touchless faucets, and digital showers and soaking tubs.
“Our brands are constantly working on design concepts that combine purposeful innovation and technology to help improve people’s lives for years to come,” says Katty Pien, CMO of LIXIL Americas. “Whether it’s a SpaLet bidet seat to help potty train the little ones or a SmartControl shower to provide pure shower enjoyment, it’s technology that is important to the health and well-being of the entire family.”
The features found on smart toilets today, such as lighted bowls, self-lifting lids and more, are really fun, notes Richard Rossi, national account manager, new construction for Niagara Conservation.
“There’s an audience for these high-tech toilets,” he says. “People who already have a lot of smart appliances may want to keep with the theme. But we found, through a consumer study, that most people have a different priority when it comes to new toilets in their homes or buildings — water conservation was the most important feature for consideration.”
Toilet flushing is the largest indoor use of water in single-family homes, accounting for about 24 percent of all household water use, according to the American Water Works Association. Therefore, low-flow and high efficiency toilet popularity is on the rise, especially in water challenged states such as California and Texas.
And these smart products continue to be integrated into various smart home systems, such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant in order to give homeowners control over their various devices within one central hub, adds Michael Poloha, group manager, IoT, Moen.
“Consumers also continue to capitalize on the convenience offered by digital voice assistants,” says Poloha. “That’s why Moen recently announced compatibility with three platforms for its U by Moen shower. The product now features enhanced voice functionality with Amazon Alexa — including compatibility with groups and routines — as well as compatibility with Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant.”
Manufacturer: Niagara Conservation
Product: Nano Dual Flush Toilet
Release date: March 2018
Description: Using 77% less water than other toilets on the market, it is one of the most water-efficient toilets in the world, the company notes. The Nano offers users the option of a 0.5 or 0.8 gpf with the same flushing power as the industry standard 1.6 gpf.
List price: Call for pricing
Where to buy: niagaracorp.com/wholesalers
Manufacturer: American Standard
Product name: Advanced Clean 100 SpaLet Bidet Toilet
Release date: April 2019
Description: With an intuitive remote control for easy operation, the Advanced Clean 100 SpaLet Bidet Toilet combines the cleansing of a bidet with a sleek, modern auto-flush toilet. The seamless design features a one-touch button for easy cleaning, heated seats and adjustable temperatures. Design excellence and engineering combine for unparalleled personal hygiene, the company notes.
List price: $4,000
Where to buy: americanstandard.com
Product name: GrohTherm SmartControl
Release date: January 2018
Description: GrohTherm SmartControl makes it easier than ever to have the most enjoyable shower experience, the company says. The minimalist design provides streamlined control of up to three shower functions. One trim at the touch of a button provides temperature and volume control.
List price: $574-$878
Where to buy: grohe.us
Product: U by Moen with Voice Activation in Matte Black
Release date: January 2019
Description: U by Moen, a cloud-based, app-driven digital shower, offers Wi-Fi connectivity and unmatched personalization, delivering on consumers’ desire to create their perfect shower experience with up to 12 customizable presets. Homeowners can control their shower with their voice, smartphone app or in-shower controller. There’s also a new Matte Black controller finish for additional design customization.
Price: $1,275 for two-outlet controller + valve/$2,355 for four-outlet controller + valve
Where to buy: See Moen.com for locations