How the Internet of Things (IoT) can help take care of our pets, in Vietnam
Note: this article was written for pet owners in Vietnam and for the unique problems and situations that they encounter, Pet TECH werables and devices might help with day to day issues of pet ownership. However, the issues raised, especially in regards to Environment, Behaviour, and Health & Wellness, are compatible to the living conditions pet owners in many countries of the Southeast Asia experience.
The concept of Pet TECH or the ‘Internet of Things for Pets’ is all about connecting, interacting and receiving real time information of your dogs and cats through intelligent, internet-connected devices and software in the privacy of your home or in public spaces.
It has only been a few years since we first heard of the brave new world of ‘IoT’ – tracking apps, wearables and devices designed to enrich people’s lifestyle. Now there is increasing attention focused on creating similar devices for our pets. As the concept of pet humanization develops in Vietnam, where pet owners see themselves as ‘pet parents’ and treat their pets as family members, pet owners will adopt devices connecting them to their favourite pet through their smartphones, anywhere and at any time of the day.
This article is not definitive, it is exploratory and only provides a brief introduction, however, there are 3 common categories of ‘smart pet products and services’ to consider:
(1) Pet Wearables
(2) Apps and Cloud Based Software
(3) Connected Interactive Monitoring Devices
Intelligent, connected Pet TECH devices include health and wellness monitors, GPS trackers, ‘smart’ interactive toys, training tools, and remote controlled cameras and feeders. Devices may have built-in WIFI, RFID and Bluetooth networking capabilities, facial recognition software and have the ability to take a ‘selfie’ of your pet, sending it back to your smartphone.
In Vietnam, pet owners are very concerned about the quality of pet care services they receive and the limited availability of nutritious pet foods. One inspiration in the development of Pet TECH devices by the designers, many having a background in Veterinarian medicine, was to develop devices to empower and educate pet owners to use technology to monitor a pet’s health regularly and then quickly take preventive action to prevent disease and illness.
If we focus on the problems of pet ownership in Vietnam there are 5 areas of concern where pet owners can use Pet TECH intelligently and thoughtfully:
1. Behaviour separation anxiety (‘home alone pets’ syndrome: fear, noise & commotion) and training
2. Environment security & safety, weather conditions (heat, humidity and rain storms), parasites (ticks and fleas)
3. Health and Wellness daily monitoring of health to prevent potential illness (preventive pet care)
4. Diet and Feeding weight control, feeding, dehydration / hydration controls
5. Entertainment & Playing interactive toys and training tools (socialization)
So, how can we use intelligent devices and software to communicate and interact with our pets to ensure they live a long healthy life in Vietnam? Here are a couple of solutions from leading companies, and do design their apps in both iOS and Android software.
Health and Wellness Tracking Apps (Apps and Cloud Based Software)
Input symptoms and receive comprehensive information on diseases that will allow communication with a Veterinarian: diagnosis and prognosis. (Preventive Pet Care).
DoggyDoc.com & caninejournal.com/dog-apps/
Monitoring and Tracking Collars with Apps (Pet Wearables)
Smart, connected pet collars with GPS tracking and smartphone app health monitoring. Security features include ‘virtual lease’ technology and positive controls to control behaviour remotely. PetPace.com & FitBark.com & Whistle.com
Interactive Video Monitoring & Treat Dispensers (Connected Interactive Monitoring Devices)
Devices can comfort ‘home alone pets’ by connecting and communicating remotely, takes ‘Selfies’ and dispenses treats. PetBot.com & Petchatz.com
Smart Pet Apparel and Bedding (Pet Wearables)
Apparel and bedding designed with ‘intelligent materials’ to combat elements of the environment.
RUFFWEAR (ruffwear.com) & Dog Amore (dogamore.net)
Smart Bowls and Feeders (Connected Interactive Monitoring Devices)
Devices can feed pets remotely eliminating the need for full bowls of food and water that spoil quickly in the heat. Can be remotely used for short vacations without pets. Also avoids daily overfeeding.
PetNet.io & SureFlap.com
Interactive and Smart Training Pet Toys (Connected Interactive Monitoring Devices)
Interactive devices used remotely or at home. Controlled from a smartphone.
Clever.Pet, PupPod.com, SHRU – The intelligent cat companion getshru.com
Finally, the usage of Pet TECH by pet owners is recent and many of these devices are still developing and some only available as ‘pre-orders’. A few will only work within the designer’s proprietary Internet networks in N. America or Europe. But it is possible to experiment and ‘hack’ together a solution using a combination of available devices, apps and with regular consulting with your Veterinarian. Anything that increases the security and awareness of preventive health care of your pets is warmly welcomed, insuring a richer and longer life with your pets in Vietnam.
PETS International Magazine Issues April 2016. Internet of Things Feature content.
PETS International Magazine Issues November 2014. ‘Enhanced Objects: the internet of things. Richard Lamb.