A study conducted a few years ago at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Pharmacology revealed a surprising finding: the effect of a drug depends not only on its quality but also on the time in which it is taken and its continual effect. Thus, the study uncovered the importance of adjusting the timing of the drug’s administration to the individual’s biological clock. In other words, some medications are best taken during the day while others are more suitable for the evening.
One amazing tidbit from the study is the type of drugs used in the experiment: not esoteric and rare drugs, but those that appear in the World Health Organization’s list of best selling drugs – the kind we take without thinking twice when we feel sick.
Consequently, whether we’re talking about drugs, vitamins or dietary supplements, we must remember to take them throughout the period prescribed, or else they might be ineffective and sometimes even harmful. This is especially true for patients with chronic or severe diseases, in which any delay in drug intake can have severe consequences that create a burden on the health systems.
One company that stepped up to the plate on this important issue is Israeli start-up company Water.io, which developed the Internet of Packaging platform: This device is fitted on the package lid or bottle cap, and essentially reminds us to carry out these important tasks every day.
This patent is so innovative that the use of the platform has expanded far beyond pharmaceutical packaging, and today it is also used in beverages, cleaning and laundry detergents, cosmetics and more.
And this doesn’t affect consumers only: the platform provides information that is extremely valuable to manufacturers as well: who their customers are, when the product is about to run out, how it is actually used, preferable timing of marketing and advertising, and more.
Thus, Water.io’s platform has a dual effect: On the one hand, the everyday product alerts consumers when to take their medication, have a drink, or put on sunscreen. It can even automatically order a new package of laundry detergent or dishwashing tablets when the current package is about run out.
On the other hand, the reliable usage data recorded by the platform helps the manufacturer over time to characterize the target audience, increase product usage and boost sales; develop better products, and even save plastic bottles (which pose an environmental hazard all over the world). All this is done automatically, without any interference or special actions on the part of the customer.
Both the manufacturer and customer have simple and easy access to the data and analytics produced by the system: the consumers can use the app (developed especially by the company) to check their smartphone at any given moment and see the amount of product left in the package; when the product was last used; and whether it's time to buy a new one. At the same time, the company's dashboard system connects to the manufacturer’s ordering and marketing system, providing quick and direct access to the data of consumers and products.
So far, partnerships with various companies have yielded very interesting data regarding improvements in usage patterns and the consumption of the products: reminders sent from the packages and the app based on a personalized user profile have increased consumption by nearly 20%, with an 80% response rate to cap notifications – higher than the response rate to alerts from the app. In addition, sales have increased by over 50%.
According to Yoav Hoshen, one of the company’s founders, "The world's largest consumer goods companies are now investing vast resources and funds in digital and traditional advertising and marketing, in order to reach and communicate with their end consumers and maximize sales, while in fact not even knowing who these consumers are. The platform we developed features a smart cap, a dedicated app and a control panel for the manufacturer.
"The tiny digital sensor embedded in the existing cap (or replacing it), measures the amount of material remaining in packages and bottles, and alerts the user by flickering or sending a notification through the designated app. It is also capable of automatically ordering a new supply of the product on a regular basis. And above all, it provides the ongoing and precise data which the companies seek to obtain in various ways.
"This way everybody wins – both the consumer who remembers to take the pill on time or get a vital product replenished in time, and the manufacturers who can get better acquainted with their customers, understand their preferences and concerns, and even save plastic bottles.
"One indication that we’re on the right track is the customers who contact us on their own initiative after searching for solutions but finding none. Since there is currently no other product as unique and revolutionary as ours, neither in Israel nor abroad, we expect a massive growth in sales and exports to overseas markets".
Indeed, the market appears to be showing a keen interest in the product: Just recently the company signed over 10 new contracts with some of the world’s largest companies in the fields of medicine, food, beverages, detergents, medical food, vitamins and more.
Earlier this year, the Mey Eden Company in Israel distributed the smart cap in their 750 ml water bottles, which was a tremendous success. Now, for the first time, companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle or Mey Eden have a direct link to their customers", Hoshen notes, "They now know how customers use their products and make improvements accordingly".
"Recently we entered the area of cold chain management. We are developing a system that monitors the conditions of food in transit, such as meat, fish and medication – from the factory to the retail chains and shops.
"The system enables accurate monitoring of the temperatures in which the packages are transported and the duration of their shipment, from the moment they leave the factory and until they reach the points of sale. This corroborates the companies’ compliance with the laws and regulations on food transport, so we have a lot of faith in this development"
"To improve and streamline the consumer’s use of the product, provide a great user experience and at the same time provide the brands with access to the usage data and a direct connection to the consumers. This is the core of the digital transformation that organizations are undergoing nowadays, and our system facilitates this transformation among the consumer goods companies.
"Water.io has already fostered partnerships with some of the largest packaging companies in the world. Next, the company plans to focus only on the production and sale of the system to manufacturers, while at the same time collecting royalties from the largest bottle cap and packaging manufacturers in Israel and abroad for the rights to produce the smart caps"'.