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Smart Device Push Brings IT, R&D Teams Together


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 The Oral-B iO and application assesses a user's toothbrushing behavior and makes recommendations.

Consumer packaged goods companies are deploying their information technology talent to work alongside research and development groups to design and build new products.

Credit: Procter & Gamble

Information Technology (IT) staffers at consumer packaged goods companies increasingly are working with research and development (R&D) teams to develop more connected devices.

To develop Colgate's new smart toothbrush, the R&D team worked on the brush head and sensors, while the IT team developed the underlying application, which uses machine learning to analyze data collected by the toothbrush to make recommendations for brushing better.

Colgate's Mike Crowe said, "It is really about maximizing the use of the combined skills."

The IT and R&D teams at Proctor & Gamble (P&G) also have collaborated on a smart toothbrush, a personalized skin-care analyzer, and a facial-hair style assistant.

McKinsey’s Ed Roth said teaming IT and R&D is not without its challenges. “It’s not a natural pairing,” Roth said, because each unit is staffed by people from a different work culture.

From The Wall Street Journal
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