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Candibell Delivers Hardware Sensing Modules, Cloud Computing Services And Mobile SDKs To Help Brands Monitor Usage Of Their Physical Products

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Below is our recent interview with Eric Huang, President & CEO of Candibell:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Candibell?

A: Candibell is a collection of hardware sensing modules, cloud computing services and mobile SDKs which are engineered to help brands and vendors monitor and track usage of their physical products in real-time.

In the digital world, for example, we have common services for web site traffic analysis, mobile app screen time tracking, AWS’s CloudWatch for infrastructure monitoring and alerting. Candibell provides usage tracking and event-based automation for consumable products, but in the physical world.

Our small, low cost and battery efficient usage sensing modules can be built organically into the product’s package. Alternatively, they can be attached to products at retail level.

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With Candibell, brands and vendors have access to real-time, comprehensive product usage data for an individual customer, patient or user, as well as their complete consumption history. Vendors and brands can also subscribe to a set of events and be notified in real-time so they can implement additional, powerful business logic such as replenishment, alert, notification and analytics.

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Q: How exactly does your solution work?

A: Candibell sensing modules consist of motion sensors which continuously monitor the movement of a product’s package. The modules record movement of a product’s package during a consumption event, and then communicate with Candibell’s cloud computing service to decide if the sequence of movement looks like a valid consumption event. Additional sensors are sometimes used to optimize the recognition model for enhanced accuracy.

Candibell combines different sensory inputs and uses sophisticated pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms to recognize, prune and validate each product consumption event.

Q: How is this different from RFID and NFC Smart Label?

A: They are very different. RFID and NFC Smart Label are passive. This means a consumer or patient needs to proactively scan them using a smart phone or a tablet (aka a “reader”). These smart labels are powered when such a reader is in proximity and are otherwise completely off. They are great for information sharing, either static such as brand and ingredient information, or dynamic such as in the counterfeiting application where a challenge response authentication protocol is used. The passive approach has a few major drawbacks in the application of product usage tracking:

1) They cannot provide continued monitoring because they are not always powered on.
2) Require a consumer or a patient to scan or read these smart labels proactively. If they forget to do so, no information or log are obtained about usage.
3) As a result, require substantial consumer behavior change or cooperation from consumer.

Candibell uses an active sensing approach. This means our sensing modules work all the time and information is captured whenever products are used or consumed. Secondly, there is no consumer behavior change. Consumers consume their products as they would normally do. Imagining asking a patient to scan his medication bottle every time when he takes medication, the challenge of doing so is as high as hoping the patient takes his medication on time every day.

Q: What sets Candibell apart from other providers in this space?

A: First as I explained we do active sensing. But beside that, there are a few other unique points about our product:

1) Low cost of integration. We are perhaps of the lowest cost in the market today.
2) Battery efficient: Thanks to our efficient protocol design.
3) Small footprint: sensing modules can be embedded easily into a printed label or even the package itself for many products.
4) Brand friendly: As a result, integration with Candibell is easy and less invasive to the existing branding requirement and label design
5) Agnostic to different packaging size, shape, and product form: Candibell uses motion and smart algorithms to detect consumption events, hence the same module can be used for many different package designs: bottles of different sizes, blister packs, boxes and bags. It can be used for products of different forms: liquid, lotion, pharmaceutical solids, powders and many more, by applying a unified computation model, data collection framework and consistent user experience for our clients.
6) Low consumer friction: Once Candibell Hub is setup once, new products arriving home will be automatically registered and monitored without any additional configuration by consumer, allowing a seamless monitoring experience. Candibell also offers a 3G version of Hub which runs on cellular network without even the need to setup in the first place.
7) Accurate: Our proprietary algorithms are accurate in detecting valid consumption events as well as false positives.

Q: Can you give us a few possible use cases of the application of Candibell?

A: 1. Assisted living/Telecare: Patients living independently with chronic diseases such as Alzheimer – have Candibell setup and for the caregivers and family members to monitor patient’s wellbeing, such as their consumptions of meds, food, milk and personal hygiene products.
2. Nutrition and supplements, weight control: consumption tracking and adherence
3. Pharmacy selling an optional service for drug compliance and usage tracking for patients.
4. Market research, clinical trial: automatic data collection and accountability
5. E-Commerce: Smart packaging for usage-based replenishment: Most of today’s subscription program in retail are time based. Candibell can be used to track usage and allow consumers to subscribe to a product from a retailer or brand based on actual needs. Drive more sales by reducing churn rate and increase customer loyalty.
6. Abuse prevention: For example for medical marijuana
7. ERP integration for factory assembly line, medical supplies for hospital etc.

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Q: Can you tell us a bit about the team’s background?

A: Both Steven and myself are engineers by training. We were the founding team members of LoopPay Inc. which was later sold to Samsung for $250m in 2015. While at Samsung, we worked on its payment initiative and related services. Candibell’s R&D team members are industry experts in IoT, security, and embedded development, with many years of real-world product development experience. Our team has strength in both hardware and software development.

Q: What are the company’s plans for the near future and goals for the future?

A: We are conducting pilots in a number of vertical markets, so far the feedback and results are very positive. We are also in early communications with some very established players. We hope to work with them towards commercialization.

Our vision is to become industry leader in the area of active and intelligent packaging, offering reliable, cost effective and easy to integrate smart sensing and packaging solutions. We will continue improving our hardware and software offerings to make that a reality.

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