Why is finding the perfect spot on the shower knob such a challenge? Shouldn't there be a way to just figure out your perfect position, set it and forget it? Well, as it turns out there is. Technological advancements designed to help you get the shower just right have found their way into the bathroom via, guess what—an app.
While you might be wondering about why the “Internet of Things," needs to move into your bathroom, keep in mind that the future of cloud-controlled devices is already taken up residence in other parts of the house. Michael Winn, president of Winn Design + Build based in Falls Church, Virginia, has seen the future and it's being controlled by our phones.
“Wi-Fi enabled technology is merging the physical world with the virtual world," says Winn. “It can already be found in door locks, lighting, audio systems, smoke alarms, mechanical systems and even our appliances. It enables communication among physical objects. These “smart" homes will make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable."
Speaking of comfort. Let's go back to the master bath and take a look at the U by Moen digital shower system, which is taking hot or cold showers to places it's never been before. Winn has some theories about why the next wave of showers is catching on with homeowners.
He says, “Homeowners like the control. Specifically, they like the ability to have precise temperature control and to have a timed warm-up." Having the perfect temperature up and running when you step in is a goal we should all have. The U by Moen shower allows you to find your perfect number within a degree and it turns the water on for you. Once the water has reached your magic number, the phone will alert you and pause the spray till you're ready to get in.
There's also a sleek-looking control unit that attaches to the wall in the shower, complete with a small video screen that gives you shower updates. Users can program the shower with personal presets allowing them to get things heated up with one push of the button. It's simple—just press and go.
U by Moen digital shower is sold in two different configurations. One has two outlets, commonly devoted to a wall-mounted showerhead and a hand shower. The other, four-outlet system allows you to add two body sprays or a separate rainshower head or to create almost any configuration you want. The heart of the system is the valve system that fits inside a wall, cabinet or in a basement. The valve is connected to the wall-mounted controller by a data cable that come in a thirty-foot length.
Winn says, “the U by Moen shower system makes the installation easy, particularly in the case of new construction. Likewise, its profile would work well in most bathroom renovations."
What does the future hold for plumbing fixtures controlled by the Internet? Nobody knows, but Winn has a few ideas. He says, “ I could imagine real-time monitoring of water consumption, both to the house and per fixture...This could help a homeowner monitor water usage and detect leaks." We're not quite there yet but we do have a shower system that can be controlled by your phone. What will they think of next?