There is fintech, biotech, proptech and edtech, so why not pettech for pet owners to cuddle up with during lockdowns?
The current rage in using technology to make life better for humans has been extended to pet owners as well. During the era of the pandemic, many people have found increased time to be with their pet, and technology has made things much easier.
A report by the Better Cities For Pets program, which was created by a pet nutrition and health care business, had revealed that owners considered their pets to provide important benefits in the form of companionship (86%), reduced stress or anxiety (78%), reduced boredom and monotony (75%) and reduced depression (74%) during COVID-19.
Every imaginable pet service
Elsewhere, a recent survey by the Michelson Found Animals Foundation had revealed that 56% of pet owners have invested on technology to make their enchantment with animals safer and more convenient. For example:
- Uber Pet – Launched in late 2019 in the USA, this service lets ride-hailing customers alert drivers that a pet will brought on the ride for a small surcharge. Riders with service animals (those trained to perform tasks that assist disabled people) are not expected or required to use Uber Pet, and can select from any number of ride options without paying the surcharge. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, at the time the app was launched: “We want to be the operating system for your everyday life.”
- Wag! – A startup based in California that received US$300m from multinational conglomerate Softbank, Wag! provides carefully vetted walkers to dog owners by means of an app. A $US100 million home insurance is also provided to lessen any concerns the owner may have in leaving the dog with the walker. The firm’s CEO Hilary Schneider stated: “We want to make being a pet parent as easy as possible so that more people can experience the joy that comes with having a dog.”
- Fitbark – A GPS fitness tracker for dogs can fit onto a dog’s collar and can also measure the pet’s heart rate, activity and sleeping patterns. All of the results are displayed on the FitBark app dashboard. Davide Rossi, the firm’s co-founder and CEO, explained how the product works: “We realized that no one has been mapping what health looks like for dogs. We wanted to be the first company to be able to describe what health looks like for every type of dog. Also, there’s a sim card in the product that can tell the pet’s location within a couple of minutes. We send all of the owners an alert that says an enter and exit time and location from a safe place. When you feel that there is an emergency … you can track your dog’s device via a cellular data plan.”
- Petcube – While there are many smart tools for Work-From-Home privacy and protection, there is also a device that lets pet owners have a video experience with his pet from anywhere in the world. A US$500K+ Kickstarter campaign and US$14M in seed funding made Petcube a reality. Yaroslav Azhnyuk, the Ukranian firm’s founder and CEO, talked of the device’s origin: “We saw a huge opportunity in this simple device, a camera for remote communication with a pet … our mission is to connect the animals to the Internet and give them a voice (to be understood). We have already begun to do so.”
It seems then, that even in the era of the pandemic—when human health remains at risk over a mutating COVID-19 virus—most pet owners will not likely stop caring for their beloved pets. On the contrary, they are likely to spend more on the pet technology available!