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Smart Home

Moen invites Alexa and Siri into your shower at CES 2018

You'll soon be able to control your smart shower with your voice.


The U by Moen Smart Shower is about to get smarter. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Your digital assistant will soon be able to help out with your morning routine. At CES 2018, Moen announced its U by Moen Smart Shower is adding support for both Amazon's Alexa and Siri, the latter via Apple's HomeKit, in the first half of 2018. Say the word, and your shower will heat up to your ideal temp before you even enter your bathroom.

You might think a voice-controlled shower is entirely unnecessary. I felt the same way about the app-controlled U by Moen Smart Shower, but the convenience grew on me as I tested it. You can customize presets for different users in the app, then start your shower remotely and it'll pause and notify you once the water's at your desired temp. You can program the water to turn off after a certain length of time if you need to hurry along any household teenagers. And now, you can activate your presets and start your shower with a voice command.

The Alexa skill will allow you to activate your shower with your Amazon Echo smart speakers. It'll work with current U by Moen Smart Showers and will go live in March of 2018. Since it's a skill and not a native integration, you'll have to use clunky language like "Alexa, ask Moen to start my shower" instead of just "Alexa, start my shower." The skill will let you activate presets, set the water temp, and stop or pause your shower.

You'll likely be able to do the same things with Siri once Moen's HomeKit integration goes live this Spring in Moen's second-generation smart shower. Apple's HomeKit allows compatible devices to work with the digital assistant on your iPhone. Unfortunately, if you already own a U by Moen Shower, you'll need to get another if you want it to work with Apple's smart-home platform. HomeKit will only work with Moen's next-generation controllers that will be functionally similar to the first, save for a specific chip allowing it to work with Apple.

Buying a new controller to get the best version is a steep ask, since the two-outlet version of the shower costs $1,160 and the four-outlet version is $2,200. You'd only have to buy a new controller, not a new valve, so that would cost $460 for the two outlet controller and $700 for the four. Still, that's a lot. I'm also uncertain that this is necessary, as Apple is supposedly doing away with the need for the MFi chip in HomeKit devices soon.

Moen obviously wanted to get the product launched now, instead of waiting until the MFi requirement went away. "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," said a company rep.

MFI chip or not, if you're into the idea of a luxury shower, Moen's offering is getting even smarter, although it's competition isn't standing around. Kohler announced an entire suite of connected bathroom products.

What to expect from the Smart Home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends that might show up at CES 2018.

CES 2018CNET's complete coverage of tech's biggest show.