Smart Cap the Future of Supplements & Drugs?
By Matt Weik, May 15th, 2019
I love technology – especially when it makes my life a heck of a lot easier. Thanks to Stride Nutrition and Pillsy, there are a ton of people who are going to be excited by a new technology they launched. It’s essentially a smart cap that connects to an app and tracks your compliance and uses as well as how many pills are left in the bottle for automatic reordering. I think the science behind this technology can help many people, including the elderly (assuming they have a smartphone). Let’s take a deeper dive into the Smart Cap, what it does, and how I feel this technology is going to be a game changer.
What is a Smart Cap?
I’m sure you have all seen and used bottled supplements in pill form. Therefore, you’re probably familiar with the plain white bottles that have a white screw-on cap. The Smart Cap is a new technology that replaces the normal cap on such bottles and ads an element of technology.
This Smart Cap has the ability to track if you took your supplement for the day, how many servings you have left, and can even order you another bottle once you get down to around 10 servings left in the bottle so you don’t forget to order more before you run out (we all get busy and forget). This is different than the monthly subscriptions out there that automatically send you product whether you need it or not each month. If you miss servings or stop using a product, the monthly subscription keeps sending product for as long as your contract is for. Ultimately, you could be sitting on a bunch of bottles by the end of the subscription that you’ve never used and never plan on using.
The co-founder of Pillsy said, “We started this company about four years ago called Pillsy. We started building a connected experience around the taking of pills. It’s more like the Alexa experience except for supplements and drugs. Everything we do is based on behavioral science. If you want to make a behavioral change, you need a trigger and you need positive feedback.”
Why I Think This Technology is the Future
As a supplement user myself, I would love the ability to not need to remember to reorder my supplements. Now, the Smart Cap right now I’m not 100% sure how you set up the reorder process, but I’m assuming the technology can be expanded to allow the user to decide where to purchase more products from – like Amazon for instance. This takes one thing off my plate and removing any little thing from my plate is always good as I’m sure you would agree. The only downside to the reordering is that each time you open the bottle, it records it as if you took a serving. I’m not saying people open up their bottles for fun, but if you open it up to look inside (for whatever reason) it will assuming you’re taking a dose when you might not be (you might be able to change this down the road in the settings or go into the app and say you didn’t take a serving when you just opened the bottle).
The app lets you see what your scheduled doses look like, how often you take it, reminders if you forget to take it (I’ll touch on this in a minute), dosage history, and a platform that is able to be shared with a caregiver, doctor, and/or pharmacist. This would be great for those who take a bunch of medications and can have everything logged in a nice and simple app format.
This Smart Cap can be a lifesaver (literally) for the elderly or even those with a poor memory. Have you ever sat there and thought, “Did I take my supplement/medicine today?” If that sounds like you, the Smart Cap can solve that problem. For those who are no longer spring chickens, medications can be their lifeline in a sense and forgetting a dose can be extremely dangerous. The Smart Cap can help give that individual peace of mind by knowing they will get a reminder if they forget to take their supplement/drug.
Now for the downside… not everyone has a smartphone. When I think of my grandparents, they don’t have a smartphone nor do I believe they would be able to catch onto the technology like the younger generation can when they are first introduced. It’s foreign to the elderly and I don’t believe it’s something they would feel comfortable with at this stage of their life.
At the time of writing this, there are six products on the market from Stride Nutrition with the Smart Cap technology – a multivitamin, sleep aid, probiotic, memory enhancer, omega 3, and a prenatal. What’s even more shocking is that the cost per serving actually isn’t bad (check out their website for pricing) – I was expecting the cost to be much higher.
Pillsy’s business has blown up over the years and in 2016 their sales reached over $2.6 billion. It’s my belief that this technology will only get better with each passing year and that more and more people will become interested in the technology of the Smart Cap – both from the consumer side as well as the supplement/drug manufacturer side. Stride Nutrition mentioned that they are open to private label inquiries if supplement brands are interested in the technology.
It should be interesting to see in the next few years what supplement and drug companies will jump on board with the Smart Cap. I, for one, would love to give it a try and see for myself what it’s all about and how I can integrate it into my supplement regimen.