Health-related topics and products are all over CES 2021, and for multiple good reasons. And some of the announcements and discussions are directly relevant to business decision makers.
Let’s face it. The pandemic means if you oversee workplaces or workspaces, those venues must offer levels of cleanliness, separation, and credible protection unprecedented for most businesses. Fortunately, both established vendors and innovative newer companies are delivering and developing offerings that can help make workplaces and workspaces cleaner, safer, and more reassuring to employees.
- Kohler introduced at CES 2021 its Innate Intelligent Toilet and a Touchless Bathroom Faucet collection. The toilet offers “a heated seat, auto open and close, intuitive remote, and personal bidet functionality,” and promises easy installation and affordable pricing. The company now also offers a “remote puck” that can make almost any Kohler single-control bathroom faucet touchless. The less employees and workplace visitors have to touch, the less likely they are to spread or come into contact with potentially dangerous germs. So while Kohler is promoting these as “smart home” products, they’d be equally smart additions to many workplaces and workspaces.
- South Korea’s LG showcased two new features for its InstaView refrigerators – the ones with the glass windows that light up when you knock on them twice, so you can see what’s inside before opening the door. The company now offers the ability to open that door with a voice command, as well as a water dispenser that treats that water with ultraviolet (UV) light hourly, to keep bacteria at bay. If your business has a kitchen or a break room, this is the refrigerator your people are likely to find most reassuring.
- LG and several other companies also introduced or announced new air purifiers at CES 2021. Some of these are designed for rooms or automobiles. Others are integrated into face masks. One purveyor, ibie Technology Inc., won a CES Innovation Award in 2020 for its wearable personal air cleaners, with three models intended to fit and appeal to men, women, and children. At CES 2021, the company announced plans to introduce two new filters, expanding its product line from three to five offerings. The company also announced that its revenues grew 228 percent in 2020, growth largely attributable to pandemic-induced concerns.
- Speaking of face masks, there are multiple vendors showing “smart” versions of these now-popular personal protection accessories. Razer, which calls itself “the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers,” announced Project Hazel. That effort is focused on developing a “smart mask” that promises “medical-grade respirator protection using detachable and rechargeable active ventilators and Smart Pods that regulate airflow for optimal breathability.” The mask is also transparent and includes automatic interior lights, a microphone, and an audio amplifier. These features are intended to make it easier to see and hear mask wearers, and even for others to read their lips, even in low-light environments.
If you own or manage a workplace, or provide access to workspaces, you owe it to yourself and those who work in your spaces to make safety as pervasive, ubiquitous, and easy to access as possible. Just as more and more workers are and will be corporate consumers, the world of consumer electronics offers businesses increasing options for increasing worker safety.