Sun care - safe tanning

I was recently having a stimulating discussion with an old colleague who now heads up manufacturing innovation at a big automotive OEM. We talked about his headache on how to monetise predictive maintenance, or rather how to educate his clients about the added value provided by it; I thought: "Tell me about it! The same challenge applies to sun care".

So what is predictive maintenance?

In essence, analytical models fed by legacy process data and/or continuously measured critical parameters. For example machine vibration or photoaging, can be used to estimate failure – in the world of machine tools this can enable an increase in availability, in the world of personal care it can extend tanning periods due to better skin protection (maintenance) and educated product use. And while it feels like predictive maintenance of machine tools has been talked about since the beginning of time, the same analytical tools are now ripe for a technology transfer to disrupt the sun and personal care market.

How would this work?

Well, the main crunch point is the available data and how it could be linked to provide valuable insight. On one hand, there are freely available datasets such as weather forecast for a certain geo-location and derived sun intensity. On the other hand, there is your smart phone that can provide information about planned (calendar) and actual (GPS) geo-location, daily activity (inertial sensing) and skin type (camera). In addition, miniaturised, bespoke sensor devices can inform about total sun exposure (UV) and could inform on the degree of skin damage.

Now - a customised app could interface to the application specific sensors and crunch the numbers from the freely available datasets and the measured data to provide us consumers or my friend’s machine tool buyers with additional valuable information.

In the world, of sun care this could be:

  • What’s my skin type and what is the best product for me?
  • Do I need a higher SPF being at Kefalonia beach, mid-July, 12.30 to 2.30 pm?
  • I've been in the sun for two hours using this product, when should I reapply?
  • Have I applied the sun screen evenly across in all the right places?
  • Having taken all this into account, what’s my skin like before and after sun exposure?
  • Should I use an after care product?

Finally, what bespoke sensors, clever analytics combined with a customised app enable is a complete new and disruptive eco-system, empowering consumer education, brand loyalty and brand activation. Whereby, brand loyalty is as important to the personal care market as it is now becoming to be in the machine tool market.

Here at Cambridge Consultants we believe in a 360° Innovation service, from requirements and user needs capture, to first feasibility investigations, and successful product integration culminating in NPI. If you would like to learn more about bespoke technology development, then get in touch.

Dr Felix Hellwig

Felix is a senior project engineer interested in how disruptive technologies can create new value chains for our clients.