KBDN

Consumers Embracing Bathroom Tech

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — Consumers are embracing Wi-Fi connectivity, voice activation, comfort features and water-leak detection as much-desired features in today’s bathrooms, resulting in an increased need for designers and technology integrators to collaborate on projects.

That’s the key conclusion of the “Bathroom Technology Awareness and Usage Report,” a research study conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which found that 60% of surveyed homeowners say they want technology in their master bathrooms. Their goal: to enhance the space with products and capabilities that create a comfortable, relaxing and safe area.

According to the study – commissioned by the NKBA in collaboration with the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) – top-of-mind tech solutions for homeowners include smart showers, heated floors, centralized and motion-control lighting, leak-detection devices connected to mobile apps, sound systems and connectivity.

While 60% of surveyed consumers feel technology is essential in the master bathroom, 60% of designers and 68% of technology pros do not, “demonstrating a significant gap between consumer knowledge and use as compared with trade professional awareness of consumer knowledge and use of the technology,” according to the NKBA.

“Homeowners are bringing technology into their homes,” said Suzie Williford, executive v.p./industry relations and chief strategy officer for the NKBA. “They’re knowledgeable about what’s out there and are comfortable asking for it.”

The NKBA survey found that homeowners are savvy about their desire for smart plumbing devices like automatic temperature adjustment (69%), hands-free or touch-free faucets (64%), water-leak alerts to mobile devices (63%), hands-free/touch-free toilets (63%) and tubs/showers that can be adjusted remotely from mobile devices (56%). Lighting controls from one location (60%) and motion-sensor lighting (59%) are also top items for homeowners (see related graph, below).
Despite integrators actively promoting structured wiring, remote locks and video monitoring, “few homeowners have experience with these products,” the NKBA said. By bringing technology integrators into project planning discussions early, “the integrators and designers can help homeowners make better decisions and plan for seamless design and tech integration,” the Hackettstown, NJ-based trade association added.

“Designers and technology integrators collaborating on master bathroom projects can add value to their roles by alleviating homeowner questions, providing confidence and guiding product decisions,” said the NKBA, adding that designers “would appreciate receiving more training and education from technology integrators, offering broad overviews of bathroom technology, presentations on successful integrations and pricing guidelines.

“The opportunity for designers and technology integrators to partner on master bathroom projects is great, as homeowners value the advice offered by designers and integrators to create a smooth integration of technology systems throughout their home, without a ‘techy’ look,” the NKBA concluded. ▪

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