- Procter & Gamble's Pampers diaper brand has partnered with Verily, the life sciences research division of Google parent Alphabet, on a connected baby monitoring system, the Financial Times reported. The packaged goods company claims Lumi By Pampers is the world's first "all-in-one" connected care system.
- The new offering includes smart diapers equipped with sensors that measure activities like when babies sleep or go to the bathroom. The data is sent to a dedicated mobile app, which will be available on iOS and Android. The app tracks daily and weekly behavioral developments. A special 1080p video monitor created by Logitech links to the app for round-the-clock monitoring, including through two-way audio and readings on room temperature and humidity, according to a description on Pampers' website.
- Lumi by Pampers, intended to help parents raise "quantified babies," per the Times, will roll out in the U.S. this fall. Parents can sign up for early access by submitting their email to a special page on the Pampers website. The concept arrives as diaper sales are growing sluggishly overall, while the market for baby monitors is booming, the Times said.
P&G has put a stronger focus on integrating digital into its packaged goods lineup this year to meet the direct-to-consumer trend and stay ahead of what executives have dubbed an era of "mass disruption" defined by the fast pace of technological change. The Lumi by Pampers system marks a big bet by the Cincinnati-based company on the smart living space — Pampers is P&G's largest brand, per the Times — linking connected diapers, a mobile app and hardware created by Logitech.
The ambitious initiative comes as P&G looks to wrest more control over first-party consumer data and leverage that data to inform product development and internal data science teams and algorithms. Marc Pritchard, the CPG giant's chief brand officer, has said that connected products could be an alternative to sustaining consumer engagement as consumers show a growing aversion to traditional modes of advertising.
The executive also said that P&G has started to think about a world with no ads — one where brands extend their longevity through technology such as deep learning that gets smarter over time and extended use.
"When you think about an IoT technology on a daily basis, and it's giving you feedback — that's a lot more useful than an ad," Pritchard said on a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
But a greater focus on data and connected tech could come with its own challenges, namely related to privacy. This could be an especially sensitive issue for Lumi by Pampers because the all-in-one system monitors babies.
Verily's sister company Google recently came under fire for some of its data practices, including how its YouTube subsidiary handles children's privacy. Google has reportedly agreed to pay a multimillion-dollar fine to the FTC over the matter.