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Kohler is one of that bathroom and kitchen product companies that always shows up with clever designs at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. This year, it has products that some may think are for supremely lazy people, but the company sees things like its automated bath filler as giving people back time in their days.
The Kohler, Wisconsin-based company (founded in 1873) is showing up with eight products for the smart home this week at CES 2022, the tech trade show in Las Vegas. They include PerfectFill, which is a smart drain, digital/app controller and bath filler. It draws your bath to the preferred temperature and desired depth with a simple voice command or app control, so you don’t have to spend time monitoring the bath as it fills.
Previously demonstrated as concept technology, PerfectFill will be available for purchase in May 2022. Starting at $2,700, PerfectFill is a drain system that integrates a smart drain, digital/app controller and bath filler. It can draw a bath to a preferred preset temperature and desired depth with a simple voice command or through the Kohler Konnect app, reducing time spent monitoring the bath as it fills. You can have up to 10 pre-set experiences.
The luxury of laziness?
All of these products are aimed at enhancing wellbeing and making it easier for people to find peace of mind, said Shane Allis, product marketing manager at Kohler, in an interview with VentureBeat.
“Bathrooms have a very important role in wellbeing. And we say that because the bathroom has become one of the few places that people can go to really get away, to escape, to recharge,” Allis said. “The bathroom is a place that gives consumers the opportunity to take care of themselves.”
Allis said the tech’s purpose is all about giving time back to busy people.
“We are making sure that they are as efficient in doing these tasks as possible,” Allis said. “So if I can be standing at the kitchen sink, and rinsing off dishes to put them in the dishwasher, and at the same time, I can say, ‘Alexa, start my kid’s bath.’ So then I can that bath can be ready when I’m done.”
He added, “Now I just gained back time for myself. And so we really see it as being a way to deliver efficiency. We also think the whole idea of giving multiple types of control is important. So for the products, you still have your manual controls, but then you can add in-app control and voice control. We see that as being an evolution that makes sense within [a] space. We really feel that with how busy everyone is. Any opportunity that people have to gain time back in their day is going to be viewed as valuable. That’s really the way that we look at it.”
Then there is the product for the ultra lazy. The Stillness Bath is a multisensory bathing experience inspired by Japanese forest bathing. It costs $8,000 and it will be available in the first quarter of 2022.
It’s a spa-like freestanding bath with LED lighting, fog, and aromas designed to take your mind on a relaxing and immersive journey. It will soothe the body and renew the spirit. It has a hinoki wooden grate to catch overflow in case you want to splash a lot. Water fills from the bottom of the bath.
“This is a Japanese soaking bath. And it’s really about a multisensorial experience with an Infinity Edge,” Allis said. “The water runs over the edge and then gets recirculated back into the tub.”
Kohler also has a Touchless Residential Bathroom Faucet, which isn’t new when you go into bathrooms in public places. You can operate these faucets with a wave of the hand. But in the age of COVID-19, the company is creating faucets for the home that you can operate without touching the faucet. They can also operate on battery power. It’s a sign of the times. It costs $200.
Kohler Power Reserve is also a product for the age of untrustworthy power grids. It’s a modular home energy storage system that pairs with solar power systems to provide homeowners with access to solar energy regardless of the weather, time of day, or status of the grid. It starts at $13,325 for 10-kilowatt hours.
The Robern IQ Digital Lock Box is a smart lockbox that offers a compact way to securely protect valuables, medication, and personal items. The Digital Lock Box is equipped with a touchpad panel as well as an app to set and protect your password and ensure that your items are secured. This is just the kind you have if you have nosy party guests exploring your bathroom cabinet, or prescription drugs that should be secure. And the Robern Uplift Tech Tun is a bathroom cabinet where the doors open vertically. It costs $449.
The company also created H2Wise, powered by Phyn. It uses smart water monitors designed to detect leaks and track household water usage. It sells for $400 and will be available for purchase sometime this January.
And it has Anthem Valves and Controls, which are digital valves that can operate multiple outlets, integrate into the Kohler Konnect app, can be paired with voice assistants, and offer the unique functionality of independent temperature and flow control in each outlet.
Paired with the immersive sprays of the Statement shower heads, hand showers, rain heads, and body sprays, Anthem upgrades the shower through innovative technology and engineering.
And it has Purist Suspend, a ceiling-mounted kitchen faucet. It features a remote puck that manages activation, temperature and volume, and a fully adjustable hose with 180-degree rotation. It starts at $4,300 and will be available for order in February.
“We continue to focus on innovation and delivering new experiences for customers,” Allis said. “We focus on consumers and how do we take those moments and make them better for the consumer.”
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