How blockchain could transform the US prescription drug market

Arriving home after my 10th CES and, as well as catching up on much needed sleep, I’m reflecting on the trends and changes I’ve seen in the show over the years and what's coming next.

Long gone are the days of the dominance of big TVs and audio systems. The ‘wearables revolution’ is definitely now the status-quo with the interesting areas this year being around sleep (I wish I'd had the new Philips SmartSleep product during the show!) and tools for understanding consumers by monitoring stress, for example. Smart homes is now a well established category, branching out into gardens and security and more smart appliances, nearly all of them voice controlled (connected toilet, anyone)?

For me, 2018 was definitely the year of ‘beauty tech’, with more and more products and systems enabling consumers to personalise their regimes and treatments for their needs. For example, to get the exact cream for their skin condition, to colour match their cosmetics, or get the right shampoo for their hair.

I’m excited to see more and more ways in which technology can help brands and consumers at every point from product development to post-launch, during purchase and ongoing use of beauty / consumer health products.

Technology can:

  • Help brands understand consumers' use of - and emotional and physical response to - a product during the development process. Size/cost reduced tech and connectivity can bring consumer trials out of the lab and into more realistic consumer environments;
  • Gather data on the efficacy of use of a product to provide evidence for marketing claims;
  • In the retail environment, enable consumers to select exactly the right product for them through analysis of the consumer’s hair and skin… to personalise the choice and add theatre and a sense of luxury to the purchasing experience; and
  • Enable consumers to better (and more quickly) understand and visualise changes over time, so they can see the impact of use of the product and more likely make a repeat purchase or recommendation.

We had a lot of interest in our Skintuition concept system at CES, which touches on a number of these points. It’s a good example of how we can take the core elements of an expensive clinical lab-based technology (multispectral imaging) and bring the benefits into the consumer's hands, whether for product trial purposes, for use in retail or in the home.

There are a variety of different approaches and technologies you can use to achieve these benefits, but in general they include a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence, UI/UX and service design. We have all of these skills, and more, in-house.

Often the scientific principles we can utilise have already been utilised in dermatology offices, and other clinical environments for years, but the innovation I’m talking about here is how you can apply systems thinking to take the benefits of this technology and bring the key benefits into the hands of the consumer, at a size, cost and usability that make sense.

Reporting from CES... definitely not skin deep!

Author
Ruth Thomson
Head of consumer product development

With a focus on the food & beverage, sports & fitness, consumer healthcare and personal care sectors, Ruth leads development of novel products and systems that delight consumers.