Features by Diane Larner founder and editor of Bathroom Review & Kitchens Review.
Diane Larner launched both titles over 12 years ago and has been writing about the bathroom and kitchen interior design industry ever since, publishing regular features across the two sectors.

With energy and water usage taking centre stage in every household, it is no surprise smart technology is cementing its role as a must-have household essential. For the bathroom, products that incorporate smart technology are part of the sustainable toolkit and an asset for nurturing our well-being.

Today we consider some options available to the market, from water-saving designs to app-controlled bathroom cabinets and ambient Bluetooth lighting.

App-y days

Smart technology Elisa
Elisa Bathrooms
Intuition brushed brass bath digital showers

The latest mobile app usage statistics tell us there are 2.7 million apps now available on the Google Play Store and that 49% of people will open an app 11+ times a day. With these phenomenal stats showing no signs of abating, what does it mean for bathroom design?

We asked Paul Bailey, leader of product management, LIXIL EMENA and GROHE UK, who explained how interacting with technology will help generate business for the industry, especially in the luxury sector.

Paul comments: “The modern homeowner’s desire for a connected, smart home in which various aspects of their life can be monitored, tracked, and organised via their smartphone is generating lots of sales in the bathroom industry.

“As wellness and personal wellbeing take centre stage, we have seen the popularity for smart shower toilets and luxury connected showers increase significantly. Smart products can really amplify the sense of wellbeing for the consumer due to much greater personalisation features, so consumers can create a bathroom experience that can be truly tailored to their individual needs and tastes.”

Elisa’s Intuition and Incite smart digital showers are good examples; both feature a ShowerMe Smart App, so each household member can create their profile. Seamless connectivity with smart home systems allows the showers to be voice-controlled with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Saving water & energy

Smart design VitrA
VitrA Bathrooms – Smart Panel Flushplate & V-Care Prime Shower Toilet

When it comes to sustainable design, products that help the consumer manage consumption are clearly important in the current climate. Traditionally consumers have found it difficult to understand why they should change habits, but the rise of the smart meter, coupled with the energy crisis, has helped customers understand how much individual usage impacts the wallet. Smart shower technology dovetails in with this technology, extending visibility over energy and water use.

AO.com’s data reporting shows that searches for smart thermostats have increased by a staggering 140% MoM as people look for ways to stay on top of their energy consumption AO.com’s smart home expert, Kevin Walmsley, said: “With popular models such as the Hive and tado°, many Brits are looking into ways in which they can control their heating at the touch of a button on their smart phones.”

Joe Brawn, head of product management at Elisa, agrees: “Smart digital technology not only allows user personalisation, but greater visibility of water consumption, which – in this current environment – is front of mind for so many. Compromised shower experiences are not desirable, but providing the data to allow people to manage their shower experience via understanding time and water usage is key.”

VitrA’s smart panel flushplate utilises an app that records usage data from the day of installation – it has regular reporting features that allow households to see their weekly water usage and identify how they can be more efficient. The app also relays local water announcements and power updates to aid in better management of flushing systems.

Light up my life

Smart design lighting
Detail Lighting

Utilising smart lighting in the bathroom lets designers set the stage for various bathroom routines, helping create a versatile backdrop that works with any mood, be it gentle lighting for bathtime or perky lighting for personal grooming.

Piero de Marchis, director of Detail Lighting, tells us: “From a practical point of view it’s wise to opt for low-level lighting in the bathroom, ideally on a movement sensor as this means you won’t be blinded by bright overhead lighting at night time. If you’re able to, incorporate Bluetooth control lighting into your bathroom, this allows you to easily control the light level or set the ‘scene’ depending on whether it’s the kids’ bathroom or you are in pampering mode”.

Stay tuned

Sound Cabinet HiB Smart design
HiB Sound Cabinet

Technology and entertainment are integrated into all our living spaces, and the bathroom is no exception. Having access to your favourite playlist in every room of the house is achieved via the latest technology. Hib’s latest Sound cabinet uses integrated speakers and Bluetooth connectivity so users can easily enjoy their best-loved music, podcasts and audiobooks.

Smart reflections

Duravit also delivers a range of smart mirrors* operated by the Casambi light-control app. Designed to help create a pleasant atmosphere in the bathroom, customers can create and save scenes, such as extra-soft lighting for some spa downtime. Light temperature with a memory effect, mirror heating, or dim function is easy to control via the app.

*White Tulip & Zencha

Pictured Top: Elisa Intuition smart digital shower

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