CES 2018: 'U by Moen' Smart Shower System Adding Support for Apple HomeKit and Siri Voice Controls

One year after being announced during CES 2017, faucet brand Moen is back at CES this year with a new announcement for its "U by Moen" cloud-based, Wi-Fi enabled shower system (via CNET). The company this week revealed that the smart shower will add support for Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa AI assistants in the first half of 2018, letting you control water temperature and more with voice commands on connected smartphones and speakers.

For the HomeKit integration, you'll be able to speak to your iOS devices and begin your shower ahead of time, like saying, "Hey Siri, start my shower." If you have saved water temperature presets within the Moen app, the shower will then begin to reach your desired temperature and notify you when it's ready. Siri will only work with Moen's next-generation smart shower controllers, so anyone who purchased last year's device will have to buy the new system if they want Siri controls.


This is because the new U by Moen includes a specific MFi chip for HomeKit compatibility, despite Apple last summer updating its HomeKit specifications so that compatible smart products no longer have to include a hardware authentication chip. A Moen representative told CNET: "We are launching with the Apple Authentication Coprocessor (MFI chip) in the controller to meet the current Apple HomeKit protocol that still requires the chip."

Besides Siri voice control, U by Moen's new system is visually similar to the first and connects to an iPhone app so you can set up to 12 customized settings for a shower. The in-shower "digital valve" includes a five-inch LCD screen and various buttons for manual temperature control, and still requires professional installation.

There are two different versions of the next-generation U by Moen shower system, including a two-outlet model for $1,160 and a four-outlet model for $2,200.

Tags: Moen, CES 2018


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11 months ago

Exactly, in a scarce water world where 1 billion people do not have access to running water, and even first world regions like California and North Dakota face droughts, having your shower pre-start (pre-start wasting resources that is), while you still lay in bed stuck replying a message, seems not just inmoral but an outright crime.


How is this any different than standing outside your shower waiting for the water temperature to come up? If anything, this is more efficient due to to having definitive temperatures to set.

Or are you going to tell me that you step into your shower, jerk the hot and cold on and then deal with either burning or freezing yourself?
Rating: 5 Votes
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11 months ago

I see zero point putting transitory tech into any products. Especially when the product is a long term, low use item. A connected TV works great but how exactly can you interact with a shower that doesn’t require you to be next to it?

These are non starter ideas and I’m sure it must be April fools.


Exactly, in a scarce water world where 1 billion people do not have access to running water, and even first world regions like California and North Dakota face droughts, having your shower pre-start (pre-start wasting resources that is), while you still lay in bed stuck replying a message, seems not just inmoral but an outright crime.
Rating: 3 Votes
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11 months ago

But, hey, maybe they could integrate a sensor and turn the shower off after reaching temp if no ones in it after 10 seconds, they could make a call for helping save water.


From what I read elsewhere it does exactly that. It runs the water until it reaches the temp you specified, and then it "pauses" the water flow until you get in. I assume the "pause" is like many other shower heads where it still lets a tiny bit of water flow so you remember that it is on.

In my house this would be extremely helpful since the water heater is on the opposite side of the house, and the plumbing is run in an unfinished basement with the copper pipes exposed. It takes a good 4-5 minutes before we get hot water in my shower. I don't really worry about "wasting" water though because I live in the country with a well/septic system on an aquifer. My water is pretty much 100% recycled all the time, no such thing as "wasting" water. I suppose you could argue we "waste" a little bit of electricity running the well pump and water heater though.

Agreed. Adjusting the water temperature is nothing more than demonstrating this technology versus actual practicality. Adjusting the water temperature is always variable, this Product doesn't solve that.


The way I understand it, these fancy controllers continually adjust the valves to keep the water at your set temperature. So as long as you have enough hot water the temp will be where you set it, you don't sit there continually bumping up the temperature as the hot water starts to run low like you do on a manual valve, these do that for you.

Set the temp to 90° and the shower turns on and runs until the temp gets up to 90° and then pauses the water flow. You get in and it turns back on and you have 90° water hitting you the entire time you are in the shower until you get out, no need to touch the controller/valves/anything. This is opposed to turning the shower on all the way to hot, keep checking it every couple minutes by hand until you feel it get warm enough, get in and start soaping up and realize it is starting to get too hot so you turn the temp down, keep showering for a while and then realize the hot water is starting to run low so now you've got to turn the heat back up, etc. etc.
Rating: 2 Votes
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11 months ago
Conceptually I love this idea. It doesn't solve any real problem for me, but neither did the remote car door FOB. But it is a nicety. When I remodeled my bathroom a few years ago maybe I would have considered it. It's really not that expensive in the scheme of things.

But my problem with it, and why I ultimately probably would not buy it is I do not trust Apple (or any other company's home control system's) long term commitment. Apple has no problem dropping support for things. Similarly, if sales are light, I don't count on Moen to keep the system updated properly. That's a big problem when the system built into your shower.

So, yeah, I wouldn't want to be the guinea pig here, but would be cool if a standard could be arrived at that was less proprietary.


Water and electric components don't live well together. This might work well for the first couple years. But what happens when the electronics get a leak and fry out? Or any other problem? Does water stop flowing? You only get cold water?
On another aspect, people WILL end up wasting water if they start their shower even 30 seconds earlier than they normally start it. 100s and 1000s of gallons wasted.


I've had a steam shower for 20 years. Still have the original electronic thermostat inside my shower. Electronics in showers is not new.

I have a touch faucet in the kitchen. Yes, when the batteries die the water stops working but you can put it into manual mode so it works like a conventional faucet.

I waste a ton of water because, ironically, energy regulations require hot water heaters to remain dormant until water is called. I have to run my shower for about 3-4 minutes before it reaches an acceptable temperature. If anything, a digital controller will save money because it can sound an alarm when a set temp is reached rather than the user guessing. I pay all my bills with my own money so I have an interest, other than conservation, to not waste water or electricity. Most people are the same -- for generations parents have been yelling at their kids "I don't own the power/water/gas/oil company." People don't willy nilly let the shower run as you say.
Rating: 1 Votes
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11 months ago

Now you don't just have to worry about someone flushing a toilet...


I wonder about this. How does the shower handle sudden changes in water temperature, or when the hot water tank runs out of water at the appropriate temp, and it can't maintain a particular temp?

Most high end thermostat controlled systems use on-demand water heaters, so this is not a problem, or a reservoir, a buffer if you will, to allow gradual changes when unable to maintain a consistent temp.

In general a great idea, but not perfect.
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I just set it at the middle, if it's too cold I shift it to the left and if it's too hot I shift it to the right. Maybe the reason I don't see the real value in this is because my water is at a warm temperature within 5 seconds of turning on the shower though.


That's not the case with most people. Your hot water tank must be on the other side of the wall from your shower.

Still waiting on the Siri based smart toilet that keeps track of my bowel movements, let's me upload them and track them in comparison to friends and family.


I know you're making fun of this, but there would be real value to that -- not to share wi your friends and family, but for your own personal health.
Rating: 1 Votes
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11 months ago
California is going to love this one! /s

So we went from smart fridges to smart showers. I can see some situations where this might be useful, but for the most part this seems like another attempt at shoving “smart” into any product they can.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
I see zero point putting transitory tech into any products. Especially when the product is a long term, low use item. A connected TV works great but how exactly can you interact with a shower that doesn’t require you to be next to it?

These are non starter ideas and I’m sure it must be April fools.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago

Ok so in tech utopia world of Star Trek, you don’t think they can ask the computer to dial up an exact temperature shower?

I really don’t see the problem with it. haters gonna hate...


I don't mind the general idea of this (although I wouldn't pay anywhere near that much for this kind of convenience), I just don't understand why it needs to be "cloud-based". It introduces unnecessary privacy and security hassles without bringing substantial benefits to the end user.

(Obligatory pun)Also, around here we already have cloud-based showers. They're called "rain".(/Obligatory pun)
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
Water and electric components don't live well together. This might work well for the first couple years. But what happens when the electronics get a leak and fry out? Or any other problem? Does water stop flowing? You only get cold water?
On another aspect, people WILL end up wasting water if they start their shower even 30 seconds earlier than they normally start it. 100s and 1000s of gallons wasted.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
11 months ago
Still waiting on the Siri based smart toilet that keeps track of my bowel movements, let's me upload them and track them in comparison to friends and family.
Rating: 1 Votes
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