Fitbit and other wearable devices have taken the world by storm, changing the way people work out and go about their daily lives. The constant urge to beat yesterday makes these activity trackers even more enjoyable, as their use often takes on a bit of a social factor as well. It makes perfect sense that people would improve their lives with the knowledge and inspiration they gained from tech wearables that monitor heart rate, sleep patterns, activity levels, fitness, and so forth. But what’s this about animal wearables?
As if having a pet weren’t already enough fun between fetch, Frisbee, and my personal favorite, constantly getting the side-eye from the cats, tech companies have found a way to translate the Internet of Things to the Internet of Pets, essentially gamifying pet ownership.
Gone are the days where Fido just wears a collar and relaxes or plays the day away with his tags jingling along. Today’s shift in pet ownership now offers families countless options in dressing up their pets, from sports jerseys to sweaters and preppy little outfits and everything in between, but beyond the cutesy clothes, some pet owners are even applying tech to their pets’ world. Watching pets remotely through a pet monitor, which probably totally unnecessary, is nothing new. People could simply use wi-fi powered baby monitors or home security systems, even though now there are even pet monitors on the market.
The more interesting piece is that tech wearables for pets have literally opened the door with the GPS turned on. While many pets today are microchipped, that technology only really works if a pet is found and turned in at a veterinary facility or a shelter that scans the pets for the microchip itself. The cool thing about these pet wearables is that now pets who’ve gone missing may actually be more findable now thanks to GPS-enabled pet collars for dogs and cats. Imagine your relief if your dog or cat does jump the fence or dash out the front door when company comes… it will just be a matter of identifying your pet’s real-time location and going to get your pet.
Many of these wearables even track your pet’s overall wellbeing, steps, and other activity level data. Some even allow you to set a geo-fenced area to keep tabs on your pet’ proximity. (Not too sure about how you keep your pet inside the space that you set.)
Of course, pet wearables aren’t all as useful as GPS-enabled pets.
If you’re the curious kind, you can live vicariously through your pet with the PawsCam, a collar-camera or the Motorola Scout 5000 digital wireless video monitor, both of which capture your pet’s daily excitement (or lack thereof).
As cool or quirky as they sound, pet wearables aren’t necessarily the first of their kind, though.
A couple of years ago, Scottish companies soared into the ways of the future, creating sensors for livestock, designed to track just about everything about cows. The main goals, of course, being happy cows producing more milk. The Well Cow Bolus monitors the herd’s health remotely, helping to optimize nutritional intake for the cows. This system aims to improve the cows’ diets, improving efficiency of their production as well as the farm’s overall profitability.
The intended end result is similar with The Afimilk Silent Herdsman predictive analytic software platform, which enables a sensor to monitor the animals’ health and wellness in real time. A decision-support platform tied to a behavior-monitoring collar work in tandem to notify the farmer’s phone or device if a change in activity is identified. The knowledge gleaned through the little piece of tech will empower the farmers to care for their herds and other animals as efficiently as possible. This, in turn, allows dairy and beef farmers to fine tune their operations and to increase productivity and profitability on the farms.
The Internet of Pets and livestock surely will continue to evolve over the coming years. More startups are getting involved and it will be interesting to see what new wearables and features come to market. The farming industry will likely see major growth to help farms become more efficient and more profitable with different animals, as crop sensors are already leading the way to better production. Pet wearables may continue along the same path, becoming cooler, or maybe weirder, depending on your perspective. At least one thing’s for sure – depending on how things go, we may or may not be holding our breath for that No More Woof technology that tells us what our dog is really thinking.