The appeal of technology in the bathroom

HiB’s marketing director Steve Kaye on how investing in innovation for new product development, with features that present real, life-improving solutions, can hugely benefit retailers…

Steve Kaye, marketing director of HiB
Steve Kaye, marketing director of HiB

Innovation may be about looking forward, developing new ideas and the creation of new technologies, but it has played a huge part in the bathroom industry throughout history.

Particularly for manufacturers of bathroom products, innovation is about improving the experience with practical solutions that can change peoples’ lives. It is also about sustainable development and making sure that products not only reduce their environmental impact when in use, but also use sustainably sourced materials and are made using ethical practices.

Product innovations can have a huge number of benefits to consumers, whether that’s making the bathroom more accessible by using inclusive technologies, or including more features into products to make them multifunctional.

One such feature, that changed the face of bathroom mirrors and cabinets is the integrated heated pad. Despite being almost half-a-century since the idea first came into being, it’s a feature that’s now become synonymous with quality mirrors and cabinets and has continued to be a valuable feature for customers.

It was 1995, just five years after the launch of HiB, that the first products fitted with a heated pad were introduced to the bathroom market. The feature was developed through a collaboration between HiB chairman Warren Ginsberg and his long-standing friend David Perl, who had been working on the concept for the Demista Pad.

The first product to include the feature was a plain bevelled mirror and it was perfect for reducing condensation on the mirror’s surface. Suffice to say it was a huge success and soon it was followed by the introduction of heated pads into bathroom cabinet doors, which was a more difficult project, as the pads had to be powered using hidden connectors.

They are now sold with every HiB illuminated mirror manufactured. We have found that it is still one of the most popular features, simply because it offers a solution to a problem faced by everyone with a bathroom and offers a real enhancement to the bathroom experience for all users.

But this is just one example of how innovation can change the bathroom product landscape. It is inventions like these that I love about the industry and it’s why we continue to strive for development where we think that real difference can be made. New technologies and supporting new product development is a huge part of my role as marketing director and one I’m always enthusiastic about.

Pushing boundaries and thinking about bathrooms of the future is important for the continued growth and success of the industry as a whole

Steve Kaye, HiB

Pushing boundaries and thinking about bathrooms of the future is important for the continued growth and success of the industry as a whole. But it does require space for creativity and continual investment.

In times like these, where businesses face a number of challenges, continuing to invest in innovation can be tough, but it is one of the ways we can protect and bolster bathroom design in the years to come. New products with features that present real, life-improving solutions can hugely benefit retailers, so that they can offer customers something new and exciting.

Illustration of technology in the bathroom

At HiB, we’ve recently launched wireless charging for mobile phones and toothbrushes in our mirrors and cabinets. Inspiration for innovation can be taken from a variety of sources and it takes time to bring the technology to fruition, but the rewards are almost always worth the energy put in.

It’s not just feature-based innovations that we need to consider as manufacturers, we also need to think about our corporate social responsibility (CSR). Over recent years, there has been additional pressure on businesses to improve sustainability. New legislation and industry expectations have meant that brands have had to step up to make sure they are supporting the move to more environmentally-friendly, recyclable materials and sustainable production practices.

It is something we are working towards at HiB and forms a huge part of our decision-making in product development. Investment in CSR can also be classed as innovation and is an area that affects retailers and customers, as much as new products do. Environmental considerations can influence consumer choices and alter the way that we approach selling as an industry.

The future of the bathroom sector relies on a continued dedication to innovation and manufacturers play a huge part in moving ideas forward, but the support of retailers in embracing these advancements is crucial to ensuring they become a success.

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