Pop up my Bathroom Magazin zum Thema Green Bathroom

Smart Bathroom: What does the bathroom of the future look like today?

Pop up my Bathroom Magazin zum Thema Green Bathroom

On the topic of Smart Bathroom, the guests of the Pop up my Bathroom Magazine participated online: Hubertus Brüggemann (Toto), Matthias Oesterle (Phoenix Design), Fabian Kinzler (Hansgrohe), Lichtexperte Thorsten Moortz und Birgid Eberhardt (GSW)

As if deliberately arranged to reflect the Smart Bathroom subject matter, all the guests who joined host Jens J. Wischmann, Managing Director of the German Bathroom Sector Association (Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft e.V. [VDS]), on the third day of the Pop up my Bathroom Magazine at the ISH digital 2021 did so online. The clip featuring the Pop up my Bathroom trend showcase on new technologies in the bathroom illustrated just how smart our bathrooms already are – or can be if we choose.

Whereas just a few years ago the focus was still on individual products, nowadays it’s more about creating an intense overall experience. More attention is being paid to components like lighting, temperature, media and staging water, and the individual aspects are being coordinated with one another as well. But generally speaking, what can smart technology do today, and what should it be able to do?

“Ultimately it’s about focusing on the user and their needs,” said Fabian Kinzler, Business Unit Manager | Business Unit Digital at Hansgrohe, summing up his company’s approach to smart technology. Although there are lots of gimmicks on the market, he added, it’s important for these technologies not to get out of hand, especially in the bathroom: what really matters is the added value they deliver for the user. In the bathroom, believes Kinzler, technology should at most be used additively and to provide support.

Pop up my Bathroom Magazin | Smart Bathroom: On day three, the Pop up my Bath­room Mag­a­zine shines a light on just how far smart tech­nol­ogy has already come in the bath­room sec­tor. Together with our guests, we’ll be tak­ing a closer look at some of the lat­est prod­ucts and dis­cussing which groups of users embrace which smart tools.

Matthais Oesterle, Design Director at Phoenix Design, takes a similar view and pointed to the controversy surrounding voice control in the bathroom: “A lot of people still find the idea disgusting, whereas others revel in it and think it’s great. Time will tell whether it catches on.”

But smart technologies are conquering the space behind the wall too, as Fabian Kinzler of Hansgrohe reported: “Every year, more than 1.2 million cases of water damage due to broken or leaking pipes are reported to insurers. And it’s not just a question of the material cost for the insurer; there’s an emotional cost for the people who depend on the bathroom too: sometimes they can’t use it for several weeks. We have a smart leak protection system in our portfolio that’s designed to identify the damage early on so that action can be taken at an early stage.”

Toto defines smartness in the bathroom more as a private matter that doesn’t take place online. That approach focuses on the idea of omotenashi, the Japanese word for hospitality. In this case, smartness means for instance that the toilet lid opens automatically and initiates a pre-cleaning process. But Toto also aims to promote wellness via the toilet, “by having it provide complete analysis of usage behaviour and analyse excretions, thus providing results that can help the user lead a better life,” as Hubertus Brüggemann, Sales Director German Markets, Toto Europe, explained.

Pop up my Bathroom Magazin zum Thema Green Bathroom

Change of seat: While host Jens J. Wischmann leads through today's program from the desk, Carina Bastuck introduces from the armchair.

The bathroom is used in diverse ways – by different generations, for relaxation and hygiene, for health and grooming, but also for entertainment. “For me, the bathroom is the most exciting room in the home because so much happens there,” said Birgid Eberhardt, Director Smart Home / AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) at housing development and construction company Gesellschaft für Siedlungs- und Wohnungsbau Baden-Württemberg (GSW). She pointed out that sensor technology and pre-set thermostats for different users (which are particularly appreciated by nursing staff and caregivers), as well as entertainment devices, don’t work on an analogue basis. Her credo: “In the Smart Bathroom we need electricity, electricity, electricity! We need electricity in the bathroom more than in any other room. And that should be taken into consideration at the planning stage, because retrofitting the bathroom is expensive. Anything I don’t factor in right from the start will put obstacles in my way in the future. And the future is now!”

The bottom line of the discussion? A bathroom should only ever be as smart as is beneficial for its users – because the bathroom is still regarded as a retreat within the home, where we’re sometimes quite content to forget all about our smart gimmicks for a while. Even so, it’s important to take smart applications into account when the bathroom is still at the planning stage. Or as bathroom expert Thorsten Moortz so aptly put it: “I hope bathroom planners will keep what we’ve been discussing here in mind. Because integrating and harmonising smart applications is precisely what a smart bathroom planner should be doing.”

All the pro­grammes can be viewed in full length on our new YouTube channel.

Further information:

Smart Bath­room: 8 facts about the bath­room of the future