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Integrating smart features into our homes is becoming part of the new normal as more of us work from home. The smart homes market was valued at around $80 billion in 2020, and it is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2026.

With UK householders dramatically increasing the number of smart devices they own, it makes sense for us to integrate smart living into the bathroom. For housebuilders, incorporating connected technology at build level might be a smart move in more ways than one, as demonstrated this year by Plant Prefab. The US prefab construction company announced its highest profit ever in 2020.

Mike Simpson, product & marketing director at Aqualisa agrees “There are currently 15 million households that own a smart home device, with predictions suggesting growth to 24 million by 2025. Smart technology is making homes more efficient and cheaper to run: reducing energy consumption, saving money, decreasing environmental impact and delivering a more personalised experience. “

All systems go

Scavolini smarter living
Scavolini Dandy Bathroom Furniture with built-in Alexa

Alexa is now a familiar feature in our kitchen and living areas, however, Scavolini has gone one step further and updated its popular Dandy bathroom furniture range with a smart built-in Amazon Alexa. Not only can you now talk to your home, but your virtual assistant is seamlessly integrated into its design via the Task Bar, an aluminium profile that incorporates smart technology.

Appropiate behaviour

According to UWLA, bathroom products are at the heart of water consumption in the home, with over 60% of water being used in the bathroom (20% accounted for by showers), and 25% of energy used heating hot water.

Helping to conserve water use in the bathroom, Aqualisa’s next-generation Quartz Touch™ smart shower includes an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app. Families can use the Aqualisa app to control shower duration and monitor individual usage, therefore limiting water consumption and costs. Furthermore, a proximity sensor reduces water flow if the user steps away from the shower.

“With more than 2 billion litres of water used each day in the UK and an expected increase in demand of 30% over the next 20 years, sustainability has become a key priority in the bathroom industry. Combined with the rapid adoption of technology, this is resulting in the emergence of smart home devices that can both enhance consumers’ wellbeing and contribute to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.” continues Mike Simpson, product & marketing director, Aqualisa.

Aqualisa Quartz Smart Shower
Aqualisa

Keep it clean

Smart technology is dovetailing with a new focus on hygiene as manufacturers integrate touch-free features for frequently used bathroom areas such as guest bathrooms. Sensor-activated products that you don’t have to touch with your hands help us feel more comfortable and enhance hygiene levels.

TOTO is one such company and is offering more touch-free functionalities for its shower toilets (WASHLET™), taps, soap dispenser and automatic hand dryers.

Mirror image

The bathroom is no longer simply a functional space, but a place to rejuvenate and refresh. Light and sound are key design elements when it comes to creating a safe haven, however smart technology also ensures that all-important connectivity. The latest technology means every aspect can be smartly integrated so there is no need to compromise on any single element.

Ash Chilver, HiB Sales Director agrees “As bathrooms become more of a multipurpose space, somewhere that we go to relax and unwind as well as for our hygiene needs, having access to technology is becoming more important. By using and interacting with products featuring technology such as integrated speakers, Bluetooth and charging ports, we can stay connected and enhance our experience and overall enjoyment of the bathroom.”

Teeming with useful technology, the Dimension LED Bluetooth Speaker cabinet (pictured top and below) offers a number of features that enhance the user experience in the bathroom. The cabinet’s dual aspect LED illumination is operated via a handy touch sensor that highlights the design on the mirrored sides and doors. Hidden discreetly within the mirror surface is a heated pad that helps to reduce condensation, and inside the cabinet, the two handy USB ports and a 2 pin socket allows users to charge their devices, toothbrushes and shavers.

hiB Dimention Cabinet

Article by Diane Larner

Delivering greater hygiene and cleanliness, TOTO has new touch-free solutions designed especially for the bathroom.

It is now understood the fewer things that you need to touch by hand, the better. Touch-free taps and hand dryers were once reserved for public washrooms yet are now becoming more common in peoples homes.

TOTO has designed a variety of solutions for the bathroom that will elevate your standards of hygiene: In addition to several WASHLET models with automatic flush options, the Japanese sanitaryware company offers touch-free taps, soap dispensers, hand dryers and washbasins with especially dirt-resistant ceramic surfaces.

Touch-free features are especially welcome in frequently used guest bathrooms. Sensor-activated products that you don’t have to touch with your hands help you feel cleaner and more comfortable.

WASHLETTM with sensor-activated lid and automatic flush

Guest bathrooms are trending more towards shower toilets with integrated intimate cleansing features that minimise the need for toilet paper. The latest model from TOTO is WASHLET™ RW auto flush with automatic flush functionality. Once you approach WASHLET, the sensor-activated lid raises – and the toilet flushes automatically when you walk away. WASHLET will determine how much water to use for the flush based on the amount of time you spend sitting on the toilet.

LINEARCERAM Washbasin

For extra peace of mind TOTO’s washbasins are made from its notably slim ceramic which is, dirt-resistant and easy-to-clean (LINEARCERAM). It is used in many washbasins, including TOTO’s eye-catching asymmetrical TA vessel. It has a dirt-resistant, easy-to-clean ceramic surface, which essentially prevents waste and bacteria from accumulating. This robust surface can even be cleaned using microfibre cloth and will still keep its brilliant shine after years of constant use.

TOTO’s sensor-based faucets, soap dispenser  and hand dryers

Automatic taps equipped with sensors bring even more hygiene to the bathroom, including TOTO’s elegant, wall-mounted Autofaucet with concealed installation. The hidden sensor in the faucet can register every hand movement and dispense the exact amount of water needed. The tap even generates its own electricity from the flow of water – no power socket required.

If you’re trying to maximise hygiene, the move from the touch-free tap to automatic hand dryer is an obvious one. TOTO’s powerful model is an ideal solution for guest bathrooms in the home, drying hands with warm air in no time. According to a company statement, “Our Research Department has also managed to reduce the noise of our hand dryer to a minimum – making it a great option for home bathrooms.”

Scavolini has updated its popular Dandy furniture range with a smart built-in Amazon Alexa. Not only can you now talk to your home, but your virtual assistant is seamlessly integrated into its design via the Task Bar, an aluminium profile that incorporates smart technology.

For the bathroom, the Task Bar is located above the vanity top (as shown in the image above). A smart speaker is also integrated within so whether you want to listen to your favourite tunes while dressing, catch up on current affairs in the shower or ask Alexa to dim the lights at bath time, your wish is her command.

The Task Bar can also be fitted with a series of accessories, including shelves, towel rails and soap holders, as well as LED lights recessed along its length. The bathroom pictured features an aluminium Task Bar and Oak veneer vanity unit with Prestige White handles.

The concept brings together the best of old and new. Fabiana Scavolini, CEO of Scavolini, says: “Our Made in Italy tradition, teamed with cutting-edge technological research, led to this extraordinary project, which looks to the near future while reinventing our past. The shapes of Dandy Plus bring to mind our best-selling model from the 1980s, Dandy, in a clear tribute to Italian design and a solution to the needs of consumers who are increasingly connected.

“In partnership with celebrated architect Fabio Novembre of Novembre Studio, we started by thinking about the increasing presence of technology in our everyday activities and in our homes. Dandy Plus is a smart, innovative and comprehensive project, designed for everyone who wants an all-over digital experience at home.”

Scavolini.com

The next generation Quartz Touch™ smart shower from Aqualisa includes an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile app. Each member of the household can set up a customised profile and is able to start their shower remotely via Wi-Fi, confident that the water is at the perfect temperature every time.

The voice-activated shower is enabled using Alexa or Google Assistant, and users are even able to add music and lighting preferences using Google routines.

With the Quartz Touch, a clearly visible LED display indicates when the shower is ready – there’s no need to lean in and test the water. This feature is particularly helpful for people with reduced mobility or additional accessibility needs.

An innovative bath fill option means remote selection of the water temperature and the water level can be set and the Quartz Touch smart shower can be activated using the remote control, for extra convenience.

Aqualisa Quartz Smart Shower

This smart shower system also offers important eco-friendly benefits: families can use the Aqualisa app to control shower duration and monitor individual usage, therefore limiting water consumption and costs. Furthermore, a proximity sensor reduces water flow if the users steps away from the shower.

As with all Aqualisa showering products, the Quartz Touch is designed for easy installation with minimum disruption to the bathroom. The intelligence behind the Aqualisa Quartz Touch lies in its Smart Valve™ technology, which seamlessly integrates with Wi-Fi, and is straightforward to use.

The maximum temperature of the shower can be set in the Smart Valve to ensure safe showering for the whole family. The flow rate can also be switched to Eco mode, decreasing flow by 33%, therefore reducing water wastage and further saving on household bills.

Aqualisa Quartz Touch Smart Shower

Find out more at www.aqualisa.co.uk

Bathroom product specialist Aqualisa has introduced the Quartz™ Smart Retrofit Shower – an all-in-one upgrade solution that transforms almost any make of exposed mixer shower into a voice-activated, smart digital shower system, without the need to disturb the current bathroom décor or re-tile the shower enclosure.

Quick and straightforward to fit, the installer will find it effortless to assemble with no major pipework alterations required. Once in place, the home owner will enjoy the full benefits of the Aqualisa Quartz Smart Shower Collection, including:

• An intuitive app enabling the creation of personalised shower profiles for all family members
• Remote activation of shower or bath using voice or app control (Google and Amazon Alexa compatible)
• Environmentally-friendly water usage monitoring and water-saving features
• Safety and peace of mind – water programmed to run at a consistent temperature and flow

The Quartz Smart Shower collection is powered by the intelligent Aqualisa Wi-Fi-enabled Smart Valve™, which can be located up to 10 metres away from the shower itself, providing flexible installation options. Setting the Smart Valve to Eco mode can reduce water consumption for the home owner by up to 33%.

Mike Simpson, product marketing director, commented, “The bathroom is becoming an experiential rather than just a functional space. Smart technology delivers a whole host of enhancements to the showering experience – from the relaxing shower routine itself to the sustainability and cost-saving benefits of reducing water usage, to the convenience and security of being able to step into a shower that is the perfect temperature every time. From the installer’s perspective, the beauty of the Quartz Smart Retrofit Shower is that it offers a straightforward, practical and efficient conversion process. All this, combined with a sleek, contemporary design that provides extra storage functionality within the shower enclosure itself.”

The Quartz Smart Retrofit Shower can upgrade almost any brand of wall-mounted mixer shower (concentric, single lever or bar valve) with 130 to 170mm pipe centres, and comes with a choice of the Aqualisa Quartz Touch™, Quartz Classic™ or Quartz Blue™ smart shower kits. Supplied with an extension rail to adjust the height of the controller, this no-mess solution is easy to install with optional fixing points, while the assembly backplate neatly covers all previous pipework and screw holes.

Patented Storage Shelf

The patented integrated storage shelf, which houses the new smart shower control, comprises two halves featuring a polished chrome finish. It also incorporates two useful hanging hooks for bathroom accessories.

Online Smart Hub

The Aqualisa Quartz Smart Retrofit Shower range will be launched with a comprehensive marketing campaign to support the trade partner channel including influencer communications, PR, extensive digital content and social media initiatives, as well as a full training programme. Aqualisa has also created a new Smart Hub online education platform, with in-depth information and advice on smart bathroom products and their benefits. A digital product brochure can be viewed here.

The Aqualisa Quartz Smart Retrofit Shower range is backed by the Aqualisa five year guarantee.

For further details on the Aqualisa Quartz Smart Retrofit Shower range, please visit: https://www.aqualisa.co.uk/smart-retrofit-shower

Leading supplier HiB has launched a new bathroom cabinet with a touch sensor for easy and quick illumination and a built-in Bluetooth® speaker.

The Dimension LED Bluetooth® speaker cabinet brings together a myriad of features with a bold and sophisticated design that is striking when viewed from every angle. The touch sensor on the side of the cabinet activates Dimension’s illuminated exterior, which can be appreciated from the front, sides and inside the mirrored doors, creating a practical but showstopping centrepiece in the bathroom.

The cabinet features built-in Bluetooth® connectivity and speakers, allowing users to link their devices and listen to music, podcasts and audio books with ease. Charging devices isn’t a problem thanks to Dimension’s two integrated USB ports and a 2 pin socket for charging toothbrushes and shavers.

When using the cabinet after a shower or bath, the heated pad technology hidden beneath the surface of the soft-close mirrored doors, helps to reduce condensation and maintain visibility. Plus, personal items can be conveniently stored using Dimension’s adjustable shelving, maximising storage.

Product longevity and quality assurance have always been central to the design of HiB mirrors, cabinets, furniture and accessories and Dimension benefits from improved assembly features that ensure performance and durability.

For more information about the new Dimension cabinet visit https://www.hib.co.uk/product/dimension/ where you can also download the latest HiB brochure.

Dimension LED Bluetooth Speaker Cabinet HiB

More news from HiB

VASCO is expanding its range of electric heating solutions, to include an updated Wi-Fi-controlled electric radiator, the Niva, together with a hybrid version of the designer radiator the Niva Mix.

Electric radiators are the perfect partner for new ‘green’ builds and renovations; especially when
combined with the installation of ground source heat pumps or solar panels.

The newly upgraded Niva range of electric radiators are easily controlled you can choose from a radio frequency version, which is not connected to your home internet and comes with a compliant thermostat as standard.

The electric radiator also has a VASCO Climate Control app (you will need the E-Volve Wi-Fi control version), this and the control unit can be ordered separately. The compact Wi-Fi module uses Bluetooth to communicate with a small temperature sensor located in the same room as the radiator. A third version, which allows you to control the radiator with your home automation system, is also available.

The Niva is a dry thermal panel electric radiator and does not contain any water; it heats up very quickly as it uses VASCO’s new infrared technology to generate a comfortable, radiant heat.

The upgraded electric Niva allows you to control and limit the radiator’s surface temperature, which is an extremely practical feature in rooms where safety is paramount, such as nurseries, it is far lighter than a water-filled radiator making it much easier to install based on a plug-and-play principle.

Niva Mix: hybrid radiator available in 2 sizes
The VASCO Niva Mix is an exciting new hybrid radiator. It is an ideal solution as it offers two options: it can be connected to a hydronic central heating system or run on electricity. This makes the Niva Mix hybrid radiator perfect for areas that need to heat up quickly when the central heating system is switched off, such as bathrooms.

The minimalist, sleek and stylish electric Niva and Niva Mix radiators are available in an extensive range of colours that will work with any interior.

Wide range of accessories
All VASCO accessories that are suitable for the hydronic Niva radiators are also available for the upgraded electric Niva and the Niva Mix.

Smart Bathrooms

About Vasco – www.vasco.eu
Vasco offers a wide range of innovative and sustainable total solutions in the field of heating, ventilation and cooling for an optimal indoor climate. For example, Vasco delivers high-quality and internationally acclaimed design radiators that are characterized by a combination of top design and functionality. The quality brands for panel radiators are Superia in Belgium and Brugman in Germany, France, Poland and the Netherlands. In addition to radiators, Vasco is also an important player in the field of ventilation and underfloor heating. Vasco radiators are guaranteed with a quality guarantee for a period of 10 years on waterproofness and lacquer. The production companies are located in Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. Vasco, headquartered in Dilsen (BE), has approx. 500 employees and is part of the Swiss Arbonia Group.

Suitable for any bathroom, SOUND WAVE from Kaldewei is an acoustic innovation that turns a steel enamel bathtub into a resonant sound box. Compatible with all Kaldewei bathtub models, this bathroom audio system is installed at the same time as the bathtub and can play every kind of audio file via Bluetooth® from a smartphone, laptop, tablet or PC.

Bringing together the joy of bathing with the delights of music and sound was an obvious choice for Kaldewei. SOUND WAVE is the ultimate combination of relaxing spa and unique sound experience – above and below the water.

SOUND WAVE isn’t only a winner with spa lovers. Professionals like sound engineer Bryan Gallant from The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, Canada, are big fans of this Kaldewei innovation.

“We put in a Kaldewei sound bath tub for certain clients who decide they like a soak (a bath) after work, the great thing is, they can listen to the music they made while dropping the soap!” says the studio manager.

Kaldewei soundwave
The Warehouse Studio

A sustainable steel enamel Kaldewei bathtub fitted with SOUND WAVE recently took up residence at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver. Opened by Bryan Adams in 1997, The Warehouse Studio consists of four studios of varying sizes and fit-out, housed in a historic building in the west coast metropolis. Rock greats have been regular visitors here for years: REM, Nickelback, Billy Joel, Muse, Metallica and AC/DC have all recorded tracks or entire albums at The Warehouse Studio. Bryan Adams himself has also made most of his recordings here.

After finishing work, the musicians can now enjoy the special mix of sound and relaxation and literally immerse themselves in their new songs – like in a symphony in enamel.

“Unfortunately a whole band can’t fit into the bathtub, but we’re talking with Kaldewei about designing one!” says studio manager Bryan Gallant with a twinkle in his eye. Bryan Adams has had a close connection with Kaldewei for some time: in 2020 the Canadian rock musician and photographer was asked by Kaldewei to present the subject of hand hygiene in pictures. With “Naturally Connected” he created an emotional visual rendering of connectedness in turbulent times.

How it works

Six acoustic panels and two transducers are attached to the outside of the bathtub; these remain entirely invisible behind the panelling. The chosen digital device then works as a remote control which is automatically recognised after the first sign-in. Up to eight devices and individuals – a biggish family, for example, or an entire band – can be pairedwith SOUND WAVE at the same time.

Kaldewei warehouse studio
Kaldewei The Warehouse Studio

More info about Sound Wave here:

About The Warehouse Studio
The Warehouse Studio is housed in a historic building in Vancouver. It was built in 1886 as a supply warehouse and wholesale grocery. After the great fire that devastated Vancouver that same year, it was subsequently used as a town hall, prison and morgue. Saved in 1988 from the wrecking ball and a future as a car park, the Oppenheimer building was restored and reborn as The Warehouse Studio in 1997.


About KALDEWEI

KALDEWEI is a German family-run business that has now been devoted to its material, steel enamel, for over 100 years and four generations. The portfolio takes in bathtubs, shower surfaces and washbasins, as well as installation systems for project business and private clients. These superb bathroom solutions made of superior KALDEWEI steel enamel can be 100 per cent recycled when they come to the end of their long useful life.

The premium manufacturer is thus making a major contribution to eco-friendly building. KALDEWEI is also a long-term partner of the WWF marine conservation programme that is devoted to reducing plastic waste in our oceans. Because it takes its responsibility to the environment and future generations seriously.

Published by Diane Larner

The new app-controlled shower from Roca uses smart technology to provide a truly unique showering experience. With its customisable settings and simple interface, up to three users within the same household are able to pre-set their desired settings for shower duration, maximum temperature and flow rates.

The interface features a colour LCD display and touch sensitive controls with soft turn dials to ensure it is extremely easy to use and control. The Smart Shower system can install two or three outlets including a Raindream showerhead, handset and Puzzle Square Jets. If homeowners select the three outlet option, the clever design allows two of them to work simultaneously. 

One of the smart benefits to the digital shower is that it can be controlled via an app. This means that users can simply use their phone or tablet from a bedside to conveniently turn on the shower and activate the warm-up function. The app also helps with energy and water saving, enabling users to monitor their water and energy consumption, to run your shower more efficiently.

For young families, the shower is equipped with a child safety mode so children can only turn the shower off and also allows for the control of flow, temperature and duration to provide peace of mind. This is reinforced by the temperature monitoring system which measures the temperature to eliminate the risk of scalding.

The Smart Shower solution also includes a Legionella cleaning programme to eliminate bacteria without the use of chemical products and a cleaning program to remove any impurities.

“It may seem like a luxury, but the Smart Shower is not just for convenience,” comments David Bromell, Head of Marketing at Roca. “In addition to providing a luxe showering experience, the intuitive system will actively work to reduce water wastage, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for the bathroom design.”