Toronto Star

Canine connection goes to a whole new, high-tech level

Wearables such as pet cams, activity trackers offer ways to keep tabs on Fido

- AMANDA REBECCA COSCO SPECIAL TO THE STAR

The Internet of Things promises to digitize everything from our fridges to our thermostat­s — even our pets are getting the connected treatment.

Wearable technology for pets (and their humans) was recently showcased at We Are Wearables, a monthly Meetup group dedicated to exploring and experienci­ng wearable technology. Its June edition took place at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto and honed in on the ways technology is changing the way we train, monitor and play with our pets.

Much like popular wearable technology for humans, emerging pet tech seems set on quantifyin­g the body: Cleo Collar uses integrated sensors and electronic­s to track and analyze your pet’s vital signs; FitBark is a dog activity tracker (think FitBit for Fido).

Beyond doggie data, new startups in this space are catering to pet parents’ desire to know where Spot roams: both PetCube and PetBot are remote wireless pet cameras that allow you to check in on your dog via a mobile app while you’re away from home.

“The Internet has already transforme­d pet care, and now the Internet of Things is changing what we know about our pets,” says entreprene­ur and futurist Adam Little of LifeLearn, a software specifical­ly de- signed for veterinari­ans.

“Entreprene­urs are developing products that will change how we relate to — and deliver service to — our pets.”

Track your pet’s paw prints “Technology is allowing us to be more connected than ever with our pets,” says Dana Kay Goddard, marketing director for London-based Wonderment­o, the creators of WonderWoof. WonderWoof, which retails for $99, is a bow-tie that clips onto your pet’s collar and interfaces with your smartphone. In addition to tracking your dog’s movement and activity levels, WonderWoof also connects you to the canine community (think Facebook for furry folks).

Earn those good human points “The more interactio­n we have with our animals the better,” says Whit Howlit, director of sales and operations for Kansas City-based FitBark. The clip-on monitor that retails for $99.95 accelerate­s pet health care by turning your dog’s everyday activity into BarkPoints. “FitBark encourages people to be better pet owners and gives you insight into your dog’s behaviour patterns that you didn’t know before.”

Know your pets in a heartbeat Cleo Collar, based in Kitchener, Ont., uses integrated sensors and electronic­s to track and analyze your pet’s vital signs. Most of its sales are currently to the equestrian industry. It retails for $69, plus a monthly $5 subscripti­on fee.

 ??  ?? Tech startups such as FitBark, whose monitor is shown above, are targeting consumers keen to check on their pets’ whereabout­s and activity levels.
Tech startups such as FitBark, whose monitor is shown above, are targeting consumers keen to check on their pets’ whereabout­s and activity levels.

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