TechRepublic’s Karen Roby spoke with Bill Strang of Toto about the company’s new toilet technology debuted at CES 2021. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
Karen Roby: Bill, being in a virtual environment, it’s definitely a different experience than what we’re used to for CES in Las Vegas, where we are all together and touching products and can really have that conversation. We’re definitely having to take a different approach this year.
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Bill Strang: Absolutely, Karen, and thanks for the time to get a chance to talk to you about this because we, at Toto, have been at CES for several years now, and we really enjoy the format. I mean, frankly speaking, we’re there talking about toilet technologies, Washlet bidet technologies in competition with [virtual reality] VR goggles and self-driving cars and the latest OLEDs coming into the marketplace. We want to make sure that we give you an opportunity to understand how our technology is enabling improved health outcomes and better hygiene, especially in this COVID world. This is what we’re going to be talking about today. So we’re going to give a couple of quick views to you of our presentation and walk you through a few of these ideas as we place this into your video.
We’re introducing our Washlet product and we’ve had this in the marketplace for many years, but now we are incorporating, into all ranges of our product, something called e-water. This is the most important thing. E-water is electrolyzed water. This electrolyzed water provides an opportunity for the water coming into the house to flow across an anode and cathode. It creates a mild solution of sodium hypochlorite that then flows into the device to be used to help keep that product more hygienic and more clean after every use.
Then on the next slide, you’re going to see probably our pinnacle item. This is something called our NEOREST NX. If you haven’t sat down and test driven one of these, you need to do that because this product not only incorporates every one of those hygienic features in the Washlet, the hygienic features and the feature combinations of the toilet, but it incorporates what’s also known as Actilight. This is a UV light so that when the lid closes at the end of the day, you finish and walk away, once a day, that UV light will come on and create a photocatalytic reaction inside the bowl to help reduce the amount of debris and contaminants that are in that bowl. This is the very essence of what we call clean synergy. Now all of this plays a role because today’s world is so much aware of COVID and health and health outcomes.
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Now, this is a concept toilet we have. It’s something we’re introducing into the marketplace, not this year, but in a year or two down the road. But here’s the trick, we’re bringing in sensor technology to measure the bio-characteristics of a consumer as they sit on the toilet. It’s not invasive. It’s actually you don’t do anything different than you sit down and go to the bathroom like you normally do, but we will begin to collect data from you as you use that toilet. We’ll collect data from you and be able to track and trend it every time you visit the toilet. Trending analysis of the biofeedback that we’re able to collect through a variety of sensors that we’re now beta testing is going to be the very essence of what we believe will be the future of the toilet experience.
This is our touch-free product. As we venture back into the world, the COVID world is going to want us back. We want to get back. We want to get back into the public spaces. Public spaces need to make sure that they’re doing their very best to provide a safe hygienic experience, especially in the bathroom. Our Ecopower product has a micro turbine. Every time you use a toilet, a urinal, or a faucet, it spins a microturbine, it creates electricity. That electricity then runs the device for every subsequent use. But here is the trick. We’ve now incorporated [Internet of Things] IoT into the system. This IoT incorporation provides the facility managers to actually track every toilet, every urinal, every faucet, how it’s being used, how often it’s being used, and we can then provide custodial staff the opportunity to actually be more efficient and effective in maintaining the hygiene characteristics of that bathroom space.
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