A smart toilet that can heat up the seat on a chilly morning and play your favorite tunes on twin speakers synched to your smart phone is coming to America. And guys, the seat automatically goes up.
Already in approximately 75 percent of Japanese homes, the nation's largest smart toilet maker, Lixil Corporation, is hoping to introduce the technologically advanced lavatory to the American consumer though it 2013 acquisition of American Standard Brands – a 138-year-old U.S. maker of toilets and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Lixil Corporation purchased the company last June for $542 million, including debt, The Wall Street Journal reported
Yoshiaki Fujimori, CEO of Japan's Lixil Corporation, expects the smart toilet to appeal to Americans in the same fashion as the iPhone took the smart phone industry by storm.
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"Industry presents iPhone – industry presents shower toilet," Fujimori told The Journal. "We can create the same type of pattern."
One aspect of the smart toilet that might not go over well with the American consumer is its self-washing or bidet feature that while embraced in Europe and other parts of the world is generally distained in the U.S.
In addition to the bidet feature, the price tag of the smart toilet might also limit its appeal to most Americans, considering its high-end models can exceed $5,000, which according to The Journal is more than 10 times the conventional cost of toilets in the U.S.
Despite the price and bidet-feature hurdles, Fujimori maintains that once Americans experience the smart toilet for themselves, they will not turn back to the standard porcelain throne so many in the U.S. have grown accustomed to.
"This improves your standard of living," Fujimori told The Journal. "It doesn't hurt you. People like comfort, they like ease, they like automatic. And people like clean."
In addition to gaining a foothold in the U.S., the Lixil Corporation also plans to introduce the smart toilet to Europe, having purchased the German company Grohe AG – Europe's largest manufacturer of sanitary fittings – in September 2013 for approximately $4 billion, The Journal noted.
In addition to heating one's seat and having built-in speakers to play a user's favorite tunes by synching with their smart phone, the toilet also has a seat that automatically rises, according to Fujimori.
As positive a spin as Fujimori is putting on his companies U.S. expansion plan, not everyone is convinced the smart toilet will appeal to Americans.
"Nobody wants something so biologically mundane as going to the bathroom to be more complicated than it has to be," Paul Goehrke, an analyst at Freedonia, told The Journal. "Right now, every high-tech toilet reminds me of R2-D2."
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