Transforming pet care with AI
Delivering a first for Purina
Purina is a trusted pet care brand with 120 years of experience supporting pets and the people who care for them. Always striving to shape the future of pet care, Purina has a vision to share their deep expertise in pet health, behavior, and nutrition directly with consumers to help give pets the best life possible. That vision and innovative spirit inspired Purina to build the Petivity Smart Litter Box Monitoring System to enable pet parents to better understand and care for their cats.
The Petivity connected system is powered by a physical device that sits under the litter box to track cats’ bathroom behavior. The collected data is sent to the cloud where AI algorithms, that are based on Purina’s industry-leading research, translate the data into actionable and personalized insights. Consumers can then view data and insights on the mobile app.
Capgemini research shows that 88% of organizations will be offering intelligent services in the next five years but only 7% of them have scaled use cases for intelligent products and services. Petivity is Purina’s first connected offering. It represents a new way for the heritage CPG company to connect directly with their consumers by collecting unique data that powers personalized health insights and recommendations.
This work was delivered by teams from Synapse and Cambridge Consultants—both part of Capgemini Invent.
The Petivity connected system is powered by a physical device that sits under the litter box to track cats’ bathroom behavior.
AI algorithms, that are based on Purina’s industry-leading research, translate pet data into actionable and personalized insights.
“It’s truly impressive to embark on a program and take it to commercial launch in 20 months. Synapse and Cambridge Consultants have been consummate professionals and wonderful partners in this journey.”
Daniel Cheng, Nestlé Purina, Director of Product Management – Petivity
Innovation at scale
Orchestrating a business and technology transformation
Purina acquired IP related to cat health monitoring that they wanted to incorporate into their first connected ecosystem offering. To be successful, the offering needed to be worthy of the Purina brand, meeting security, performance and pricing expectations of their customers, while also being a viable business. Purina needed a partner to guide them through the complex business and technical challenges associated with the journey to commercialization.
Iterative convergent design
We applied our convergent design approach bringing a multidisciplinary team together to iteratively refine a solution that is viable as a business, desirable to consumers, technically feasible and sustainable. This resulted in delivering a cohesive connected system that allows hardware, software, and AI to work together with a minimum carbon footprint; a new business, pricing and operating model that delivers value to Purina; and a delightful user experience that pet parents love.
Ready for launch
As a trusted business and technology transformation partner, we empowered Purina to focus on what they know best – pets and the people who care for them – while enabling Purina to successfully launch their first connected offering in less than two years. This has given Purina a powerful new direct connection to their consumers, opening up new sales channels and revenue models. More importantly, it has given pet parents peace of mind. Pet parents are celebrating the system with positive reviews and crediting Petivity for saving their cats’ lives.
Activating the power of AI
The Petivity Smart Litter Box Monitor is elegant in its apparent simplicity. But a lot of complex challenges were overcome to arrive at the ability to distinguish between multiple cats while protecting user privacy, keeping the user experience streamlined and hitting an aggressive price point. For example, it was crucial that the device didn’t require the use of intrusive cameras, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, or special collars.
We were able to achieve this ambitious goal thanks to AI. We built AI models by capturing, tagging and leveraging over 300,000 litter box events and merging the algorithm classifications with Purina’s pet expertise. To be useful, the system needed to be able to reliably detect bathroom activity and track individual cats’ behavior over time.
Thanks to cats’ tendencies to stick to routines, we were able to design an AI system that could learn each cat’s unique behavior and report meaningful insights on an individual basis.
Through iteration and testing, we were able to refine the models to remove false positives, such as from cleaning the litter box, and remove false negatives by tweaking the thresholds.
Providing insights while protecting privacy
AI trained on hundreds of thousands of litter box events, combined with Purina’s deep pet behavior and health expertise, enables Petivity to reliably provide personalized insights without resorting to privacy invasion or requiring changes to a cat’s normal litter box set up.
“Synapse and Cambridge Consultants have been an invaluable business and technology transformation partner. They are the key that allowed us to successfully complete our journey to commercialization.”
Kristin Slater, Nestlé Purina, Senior Product Manager of Petivity
For ALL users – pets and humans
Crafting the perfect user experience
Throughout the development journey we considered how to make the system an enjoyable experience for both pets and the people who care for them.
Cats can be quite particular: they tend to stick to routines. Whereas other litter-based health products drastically change how a cat interacts with their litter box, risking rejection by the cat, The Petivity Smart Litter box Monitor consists of a slim, smart platform that is placed below the existing litter box so as not to disturb a cat’s routine. Conveniently out of sight and out of mind for cat and pet parent alike.
Pet parents want reassurance that their cat is doing well and help understanding how best to care for their cat. We designed the digital interfaces to be easy to understand and give clear, early indication of any concerns. By studying pet parents’ behavior in the app, we are able to constantly improve the experience and refine personas to best consider the user experience across the entire purchase, set up, use journey
By learning from both cat and human users, we were able to identify and incorporate adjacent features, such as the poop-scoop scores. This gamifies litter box maintenance, resulting in cleaner litter boxes cats and humans love.
Bringing Connected Moments to Life
In the latest installment of frog’s Design Mind Studio Sessions, we sat down with Purina to discuss connected products and data, and how insights are enabling digital transformation.
Unlocking Petivity’s value
The Petivity Smart Litterbox System is already making an impact. Customers have praised the Petivity system for helping them identify medical conditions early, tracking weight loss, and saving their cat’s life, with 100% of reviewers recommending the product. Major publications like Wired and USA Today have also reviewed and recommended Petivity. The success of Petivity through online sales has prompted a nation-wide retail launch of the product, with Petsmart across the US carrying Petivity on their shelves.
We are proud to have helped Purina bring their first connect system to life and realize a decades-long ambition to deliver AI-powered connected product experiences to their customers.