Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Technology in Bathing Soap?

This post is on a lighter note, but definitely has a technology perspective and caught my attention recently.

Hindustan Unilever, a reputed FMCG company recently conducted a market research in a village in India. The intent was to collect the usage patterns of their famous product - Lifebuoy - a bathing soap. As part of the study, a small microchip was planted inside the soap and they were distributed to selective set of participants who signed-up for the research. From technical perspective, the microchip was based on motion-sensor that captures the data when the soap essentially 'moves' when used by the customers. After the study, the chip would be shared with the company to assess the customer usage patterns. It was a brilliant idea!. This idea reminds me lots of interesting opportunities/ideas in Enterprise IT space. (for example - potential in remote infrastructure management?)

Now there ends the tech story. What would happen if the same soap falls into the hands of customers who are totally unaware of the presence of the chip and then they eventually find out the same?. - Panic :-). Yes, thatz what happened. When few customers found the presence of the chip, they mistook it for a hidden camera and that led to confusion. Later the company had to step in to clarify the actual situation. Innovation boomerangs! :-)

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