Smart Toilets from Japan

SmartToilets

Quick – which room in a house do you think has the most technology? For most of us, the living room or office has the most entertainment and the latest technology gadgets. Now – which room in the house do you think has the least technology? It takes a little thought, but it is probably the humble bathroom. After all, how much technology do we need in a shower, sink, or toilet? It’s an interesting question in a significant industry; toilet sales are estimated at $12 billion today.

However, bathrooms are about to change and become more technology-enabled with the recent import to the U.S. of Japanese high-tech toilets. These “smart toilets” have unique electronic features such as heated seats, automatic lid-lifters, automatic flushing, automatic sanitizing, Bluetooth sync with smartphones, and speakers in the toilet bowl. Some models can also analyze health factors such as weight, BMI, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Today, these toilets are used in roughly 75% of Japanese homes. Next stop – U.S. bathrooms.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: which room in their houses has the most technology, and what are the gadgets?
  2. Next, poll students about the rooms with the least amount of technology? Why is technology use lower in those rooms?
  3. Show the video at http://youtu.be/gL9pmDr1cfI (go to 2 minute mark).
  4. Divide students into teams: What are the barriers to this product gaining market share in the U.S.?
  5. Who is target market? How can this market be reached?
  6. Assign each team to develop a promotional campaign for the product.
  7. Teams: Find current pricing for today’s toilets. How should the new product be priced for the U.S. market?

Source: Wall Street Journal, CNN, KRON TV, other news sources

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