Bathroom fixtures and fittings maker TOTO made its mark during CES 2022 by highlighting multiple cleanliness technologies — which it has dubbed with the umbrella term “cleanovation” — within its product portfolio that resonate with COVID-conscious consumers, and especially so, during the rise of the Omicron variant.
The company’s Washlet bidet system, launched in 1980 in Japan, has sold more than 50 million units worldwide, and TOTO is building on that long history by extending its health and wellness solutions far beyond that product, Bill Strang, president of corporate strategy ecommerce and customer experience at TOTO USA, told Dealerscope.
“Washlet was a revolution in hygiene in the marketplace, prior to COVID,” Strang said. “Now everyone is hypersensitive about hygiene — and we’re here in their time of need.” He noted how Washlet sales gained lightning-quick traction during the early days of COVID during the lockdown and subsequent toilet tissue shortages. “Our inventory sold out within 3-1/2 weeks, and there’s still traction there” — as well as an awareness that consumers gained and kept about improved hygiene and the tools available to achieve it. “We will continue to make the concept of hygiene and cleanliness the hallmark of all we do,” Strang said.
Here’s a brief recap of product highlights described during CES:
Washlet C2 and C5 bidet seat – The Washlet system’s technology engages a streamlined wand that extends from beneath the seat to supply warm, aerated water drawn from a home’s freshwater supply for complete cleansing. Users can also engage a drying cycle of warm air, if desired, in lieu of toilet tissue. The latest entry-level (C2) and intermediate-level (C5) iterations of Washlet benefit from design improvements from earlier versions. They look more svelte and streamlined, as the warm-water reservoir height has been trimmed by 1.5 inches; height differences and gaps between the models’ fitting to the toilet bowl have also been reduced.
Aquia IV Arc and Aquia IC Cube Washlet+ Toilets — The new Aquia IV Arc and Aquia IV Cube designs are available as TOTO Washlet+ models or floor-mount models. Aquia IV Cube offers a geometric tank design, while the Aquia IV Arc tank is flared. Both models have an elongated skirt design, which eliminates nooks and crannies, making them easier to clean. Their design leaves no protruding water or electrical supply connections.
Neorest smart toilets — These integrate Washlet personal cleansing technology and incorporate
Actilight technology – UV lighting that hits the toilet’s proprietary glaze, generating super hydrophilic photocatalytic power that will decompose dirt (including microscopic particles) on the bowl’s interior surface and wash it away. They also incorporate EWater+ technology, which keeps the bowl surface refreshed with electrolyzed water (created by the electrolysis of the chloride ions in tap water), reducing the need for harsh cleaning chemicals.
The TOTO Flotation Tub – Research on bathing and its relaxation effects produced the Flotation Tub with Zero Dimension technology. The tub simulates zero gravity, keeping bathers afloat in a stabilized body position with hips, knees and ankles flexed in a calm immersion sustained by massage jets that produce a therapeutic flow of warm air bubbles enveloping the body. Neck and shoulders are kept comfortably warm through a water stream that flows from a height-adjustable ergonomic pillow.
Wellness Toilet — A brand-new residential bathroom experience in development, and expected to reach the residential market in the next several years, according to the company, the TOTO Wellness Toilet will use sensing technologies to scan, track and analyze users’ physical status, providing recommendations on ways to improve wellness. Users can monitor changes in wellness and receive the recommendations on a dashboard in an app on their smartphones.
The company is also now offering IoT-enabled products for installation in public restrooms to enable easier maintenance; the system will monitor and analyze connected restroom fixtures, sending that information to a dashboard that facility managers can check via phone, tablet, or computer, for real-time updates.
Nancy is a contributing editor for Dealerscope.