Business Technology

MWC 2015: Procter & Gamble seeks business partners for Oral-B toothbrush project

3 min read

04 March 2015

Former deputy editor

A year after introducing a Bluetooth-connected Oral-B toothbrush and accompanying app at Mobile Word Congress, consumer products firm Procter & Gamble has returned to the technology trade show in Barcelona with a software development kit for third party firms.

Technology is influencing everything from heating, fridges and cookers, so it may come as little surprise that toothbrushes have also been given a digital overhaul – at least, that’s the case for Procter & Gamble-owned Oral-B.

At MWC 2014, the dental brand introduced a Bluetooth-connected SmartSeries range of electric toothbrushes, which can now be found in 20 markets across Western Europe, North America and Asia, with a plan to more than double the reach by the end of summer to serve 50 markets globally.

What may sound like a bizarre concept is designed to ensure customers are brushing their teeth for the right amount of time each day, with the toothbrush relaying data to the Android/iOS app while in use to hit targets. Its research found that users of the SmartSeries are now brushing for an average of over two minutes compared to under 60 seconds with a manual toothbrush.

This year the company returned to MWC to reveal the Oral-B application programming interface (API) and software development kit (SDK), which will be released in October 2015, to encourage third party businesses to “become a part of the increasingly connected oral care digital experience” and support users.

The brand’s app has achieved almost 300,000 downloads since launch, and there were 87 per cent active users recorded in December 2014. The firm said it is hoping to work with developers that are interested in creating apps with the brushing data, helping to disrupt the dental industry. 

Stephen Squire, global brand director, P&G, said: “We are encouraged by the consumer feedback and data regarding our app’s ability to improve and maintain oral care routines and have used this proof as inspiration to continue investing and innovating in this area.

“In partnership with dental professionals and consumers, Oral-B has created the next generation brushing experience that utilises personal goals, unique dental considerations and entertainment to ensure our consumers are getting the best possible results outside a dentist chair.”

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The company has worked with dentists to offer more personalisation in the app over the past year, thus users are able to receive direct recommendations and feedback from dental professionals, effectively entering the mobile healthcare market.

Procter & Gamble isn’t the only consumer brand owner to embrace collaborative projects, however, as we reported in February that Unilever is planning to team with innovators on business ideas.