IoT, or the Internet of Things, means connecting ‘smart’ objects to the internet. It started with computers, then phones, cameras, speakers, watches and cars before making the logical next step into bicycle helmets.
Now, the IoT has passed the house and moved into the kennel, as a whole host of companies have released products designed to look after our feathered and furry friends’ health.
Just like we use Fitbits, similar products are now available for our pets which allow us to keep track of their whereabouts and activity, with real benefits. Veterinary scientist Dr Aaron Massecar said of the tech
“If veterinarians and wearable companies can come together and begin providing 360-degree, 24/7 and real-time validated information about our pets, then we will not only be able to provide actionable insights for our pet’s care, but also increase the ability to predict the development of diseases.”
But who is it bringing this innovation to our gardens and kennels, and what’s happening in this space?
Starting simple, Nuzzle have created a range of trackable collars for dogs and cats. It uses GPS and a cell chip to stay connected at all times. They also quote that only 2% of pets are insured, so they’ve teamed up with a leading insurance provider to have an all-in-one solution for pet-care. It’s a complete eco system for ensuring the wellness of your pet.
It’s not just dogs and cats having all the fun. If you’re of the equine persuasion then your needs can be catered to, too. In 2016, Voltaire Design released their smart saddle - Bluewing, which frees up the horse’s movement and allows you to track your horse’s gait, as well as the rhythm and quality of symmetry of your horse’s stride.
The combination of ergonomic lightweight design and technology has demonstrated neurological benefits including greater relaxation, reduced anxiety and pain reduction for horses.
Sticking with collars, PetPace manufacture smart collars which can measure, amongst other things, your dog’s temperature, pulse and respiration. The collar can then utilise this information to identify pain, stress and even predict disease.
Working like a sophisticated stethoscope, PetPace can listen to the bloodstream in the neck. Using GPS technology, it can also track your pet’s positioning. That’s helpful because our pets are creatures of habit – if they usually lie on their right side 80% of the time but then switch to the left for an extended period, it could be an indicator of something being wrong.
Using the IoT - cloud-connected collar, we can pre-empt our pet’s illnesses, allowing us to treat ailments even before we reach the veterinary surgery.
Lastly, one kickstarter I came across was WÜF, a collar designed to make your dog smarter and ‘open up a new world of canine possibilities’. An interesting feature of this is that 2 way voice commands work through a small speaker on the collar.
For fans of Disney’s Up, this could be cause for excitement if you’d like to talk to your dog. Let’s just hope there aren’t any squirrels around…
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