Refrigerators. Ovens. Toilets. These days, it’s tough to find an appliance that you can’t control with Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. Today, Ohio-based faucet and fixture company Moen is climbing aboard the platform-agnostic voice assistant train.
At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company announced that U by Moen, its “cloud-based” digital shower system, will soon be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and Siri and Google Assistant. HomeKit integration will arrive sometime in Q1 2019, with Assistant support to follow in Q2.
Moen also announced that U by Moen has been integrated as a Smart Home Skill for Amazon’s Alexa, eliminating the need to invoke the existing “U by Moen” app in the Alexa Skills Store. The system’s not getting any cheaper, though — you’ll have to pay $1,160 and up for the privilege.
“At Moen, we’re committed to developing smart innovations that enhance people’s everyday experiences with water, and that innovation doesn’t stop once we’ve launched a product,” said Michael Poloha, group manager of IoT at Moen. “With the increasing popularity of digital voice assistants, we wanted to make sure consumers have several options available, regardless of the smart home ecosystem they choose, as well as streamlining the commands to make controlling your shower as simple as possible.”
Starting today, U by Moen owners with Alexa-equipped devices can, after they create up to 12 presets in the U by Moen smartphone app for Android and iOS, say things like “Alexa, start preset ‘Morning Shower'” to adjust the shower to a specific water temperature (between 60 to 120 degrees). Additionally, U by Moen now works with Alexa’s routines feature, letting you trigger the showering system to turn on simultaneously with connected light bulbs, motorized blinds, and other devices.
The HomeKit and Assistant integrations will offer comparable experiences, excepting support for routines HomeKit’s case. For example, U by Moen will respond to requests like “Siri, turn on my shower” and “Hey Google, turn on my shower to 101 degrees.”
U by Moen, for the uninitiated, includes a temperature-regulating digital valve that connects to shower heads, hand showers, body sprays, and more. The controller’s 5-inch LCD screen displays its status, and physical buttons offer a more tactile way to access presets. An included 30-foot data cable between the valve and controller affords a degree of flexibility in installation.
“At Moen, we not only listen to the wants and needs of consumers, but to those individuals who will be installing our products,” Poloha added.
U by Moen is on sale online and in wholesale plumbing showrooms in a new Matte Black finish in two configurations: with a two-outlet or four-outlet shower controller. An optional backup battery kit is sold separately.
Moen’s announcement comes after Kohler unveiled the new Kohler Konnect 2.0 ecosystem, which features its own voice-controller shower system.