University students in central China are complaining of being left high and dry after a new “intelligent” shower system installed in their dormitories failed to deliver enough hot water, local media reported.
“My trousers were off, my phone was wet, my money was gone,” a student at Changsha University of Science and Technology in Hunan province, was quoted as saying in an online chat room, Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported on Thursday. “And in the end it still didn’t give me enough hot water!”
The “it” referred to is a new bluetooth-enabled app that controls the temperature and pressure of the water delivered by the communal showers.
According to a notice issued by the university, the app, named Enjoy Campus, was introduced as part of a wider programme to upgrade its paid-for services for students, including laundry facilities, hairdryers, drinking fountains and other services, the report said.
But the plan has so far failed to impress the intended beneficiaries.
The trouserless young man said he could not even get the system to work until he moved his phone right next to the shower unit.
Other students echoed his complaint, saying the system was inconvenient and that the water stopped flowing every time they lost their connection. They were also concerned about their expensive smartphones getting damaged by the water.
“I heard that many people are not satisfied with it, so they have done a survey,” another student was quoted as saying.
Others complained online that since the app was introduced, the cost of taking a shower had gone up to as much as 5 yuan (73 US cents) from just 1 yuan before.
Despite those grievances, another student was quoted as saying that people could still use their key cards to pay for hot water.
Hou Weijian, the director of the university’s logistics and infrastructure department, was quoted as saying that the system was installed over the summer in response to feedback that “students had to carry too many cards”.
He also confirmed that students could still use their key cards to get hot water, and were not obliged to use the new app.
“The card had some administrative costs, but with the app there are no extra fees. We don’t even charge people to use it,” Hou said, adding that he expected the new system to grow in popularity as people got more used to it.
Wu Kaifeng, a representative of Kaihe Electric Company, which installed the app, said that it was not necessary for people to take their phones into the bathrooms as the showers could be activated from a distance.
However, after receiving many complaints of “poor user experiences” over the past few days, the company would release more information to students on how to use the app correctly, he said.
The intelligent system was here to stay, however, and would soon replace key cards as the only way for students to pay for certain services, Wu said.