What’s new and cool in bathroom technology? Freshome rounded up experts from the National Kitchen + Bath Association, Moen, KOHLER, Delta, GRAFF, and Philips Hue to get the latest news on this year’s hottest trends. According to Elle H-Millard of the National Kitchen + Bath Association (NKBA), “We are looking for ‘an experience’ in the bathroom. The technology is all about making our experiences better, whether it’s about being more efficient, safer or more functional.” And while there are bathtubs that make you want to soak for hours, a lot of the new bathroom technology reflects the overwhelming popularity of showers.
Check out some of the ways that technology is shaping the bathroom experience.
“From setting the thermostat from across the room to creating a grocery list while doing the dishes, consumers continue to capitalize on the convenience offered by digital voice assistants,” says Michael Poloha, Group Manager of IoT at Moen.
“With this in mind, Moen has expanded the capabilities of our first-to-market U by Moen shower to provide even more innovative ways to interact with water. [We are] now offering enhanced functionality with Amazon Alexa and compatibility with Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant.”
Poloha explains that U by Moen is a next-generation Wi-Fi/cloud-based digital shower. “It offers mobile connectivity and unmatched personalization, providing homeowners countless ways to create their ideal showering experience with three choices to control the shower: voice activation, a smartphone app and an in-shower controller.”
“The U by Moen smartphone app gives users the ability to create up to 12 personalized presets, including name, greeting, outlets, temperature, shower timer and notifications,” Poloha explains. In fact, users can even pause the shower once it has reached the desired temperature. “Not only can users create their personalized shower experience from within the app, but they can also fully control the shower from their smartphone,” he says.
The U by Moen shower was also designed with security in mind. “Each shower has a unique encrypted key to ensure the connection is always secure,” he says.
The KOHLER Moxie Showerhead and Wireless Speaker uses Bluetooth technology to stream your favorite music directly into the shower. “Through the development of our new KOHLER Konnect Smart products, one thing we have learned is that the experience must be seamless,” says Jonathan Bradley, Channel Manager at KOHLER. “Voice activation technology empowers the homeowner to easily control water, light, sound and color to create an experience all their own.”
Bradley says homeowners prefer a system that works together instead of a mix of various products that don’t communicate with one another. “That’s another benefit of KOHLER Konnect. Everything can be controlled through one app to help the homeowner create a smarter bathroom routine.”
Some of the KOHLER Konnect products include the Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which has a built-in voice assistant allowing you to adjust lighting levels and even check your calendar using voice instructions.
The Veil Lighted Collection, which will launch in the second quarter, is a connected bathroom suite. “Motion-activated, synchronized, intuitive lighting mimics nature and supports sleep and wellness while KOHLER Konnect allows you to customize your preferences,” Bradley explains.
“The Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet is KOHLER’s most advanced intelligent toilet and offers exceptional water efficiency, personalized cleansing and dryer functions, a heated seat and high-quality built-in speakers,” Bradley says. The flagship intelligent toilet has static colors, but the 2.0 version has dynamic and interactive multi-colored ambient and surround lighting. “Paired with the new speakers in the Numi toilet, these lighting and audio enhancements create a fully-immersive experience for homeowners,” Bradley explains. “Amazon Alexa built into the product provides simple voice control of Numi’s features and access to tens of thousands of skills, as well as a seamless integration of voice control into the bathroom.” The Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet will launch in the fourth quarter of the year.
“We are consistently searching for new, innovative technologies to bring into the bath space to further enhance the user’s experience,” says Bridget Hatter, Product Manager at Delta. The company recently announced the launch of the new Pendant Shower Head with LED Lighting. “These new pendants offer a distinctive appeal in your space, blending cultivated designs with modern technology,” Hatter says. “The tranquil illumination of the water-powered LED accent lights combine with H2OKinetic Technology for a soothing experience that transports you from shower to spa.”
The H2OKinetic showerheads and handheld showers have an internal system that controls the movement, speed and droplet size of the water. As a result, they provide three times the coverage of a standard showerhead. And the pause feature slows the water flow to a trickle so you can shave, lather, etc. while maintaining your temperature settings.
“Thermostatics are up and coming in bath technology and GRAFF’s M-Series is a great representation,” explains Celine Marcotte, Business Development Manager at GRAFF. She says the M-Series is designed to simplify the installation process while still offering a customized shower. “With the GRAFF M-Series modular system, the installer has the option to arrange diverters and stop/volume valves in different combinations to satisfy a variety of applications,” Marcotte says. “This innovative system allows for each piece to be aligned behind the wall in a single stacked valve, without having to connect every element with a separate pipe.” The system can accommodate as many as seven different functions with four different handles.
GRAFF’s Aqua-Sense technology combines water, light and sound. The Aqua-Sense shower collection includes various options, such as a ceiling-mount shower system with a battery-powered controller and holder, LED chromotherapy lighting and rainfall, rain curtain and cascade water functions.
“The right lighting can have a huge impact on your daily routines,” says Mike Deschamps, U.S. Product & Channel Marketing Director at Philips Hue at Signify. “You should start your day with a cool, white light that mimics natural daylight. This will help you feel energized as you prepare for the day ahead.” And when you’re getting ready for bed, Deschamps explains that you should have a warm light to relax and get ready to go to sleep.
“With Philips Hue and our new Adore collection, you can always have the right lighting in your bathroom,” he says. “All it takes is a tap in your Philips Hue app or a press of the wireless dimmer switch that comes with our lighted vanity mirror and ceiling fixture to set the light to support your need,” Deschamps adds. “Shave or apply makeup under a crisp white light or turn on a very dim light to help you navigate to the bathroom at night.”