The humble bathroom is probably the last place we think of when talking about hi-tech gadgetry - but thanks to the Internet of Things, our lavatories are about to become a whole lot smarter. In the following article, we’ll show you some of latest cutting edge bathroom tech - but first, what exactly is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things explained
The idea of an ‘Internet of Things’ - also known by the acronym ‘IoT’ - has been around for decades. However, it’s only in recent years that it has become practical, thanks to advances in internet technology. The internet as we understand refers to a system of connected computers; the Internet of Things simply extends this idea by connecting various other appliances, such as refrigerators, lighting systems, and a whole host of others.
As outlandish as the idea might seem, it’s actually already well underway. According research from IT firm Gartner, some 8.4 billion IoT-connected devices will be in use worldwide by the end of 2017.
IoT in the bathroom
This same technology already has many applications in the commercial washroom. Soap dispensers and toilet roll holders could alert you when supplies are running low, or even order replacements automatically.
In a workplace setting, this would help reduce wasted bathroom visits and improve productivity. The data delivered by the sensors could also be used to identify underused facilities or those which attract queues.
The IoT could revolutionise the domestic bathroom, too. For instance, home automation systems let you control your home’s lighting and temperature from an app. Imagine being able to dim the lights from the comfort of your bath, or getting the bathroom nice and toasty in time for your shower on a winter morning.
The Internet of Things can also be used to help you look after your health. Smart scales can monitor fluctuations in your weight, as well as other metrics such as heart rate, body fat and BMI. It could then send you personalised exercise schedules or even flag up potential health problems.
Similarly, smart toothbrushes can give useful feedback on your brushing habits; one even has a built-in HD camera that films the inside of your mouth and transmits the live footage to your phone, so you can hone in on problem areas and identify cavities.
Of course, the IoT is not without its drawbacks; for example, every IoT-connected device would present an opportunity for hackers. Bathroom installation would also become a far more complex affair - you’d even need to get the IT department involved.
But for all the potential problems, the advance of IoT technology looks unstoppable - and it may not be long until you install an interconnected, smart washroom in your own facility.
Paul Thorn is the MD of Washware Essentials. With 25 years of experience in the sanitary ware market, Paul has always been fascinated with the latest bathroom tech.