The CNET headline “Whistle, the Fitbit for dogs, makes push into mainstream” caught my eye over the weekend as I was reading about wearable technology. Wearables are an ever-changing landscape for the software testing and app development communities, with some established names like FitBit and Nike FuelBand leading the way. But a FitBit for your dog?
Turns out, that’s not such a crazy concept. A handful of developers have carved out a niche for the emerging market of pet wearables. According to ABI Research, the global market in health and fitness wearables (for humans, presumably) could reach 170 million devices by 2017. It makes sense that an avid wearables fan and pet owner would want to get their hands on data for their four-legged friend, too.
Some of the early players in this market segment are:
Whistle (Applause Score: 93/100) – This $129 activity monitor attaches to your dog’s collar and connects to the iOS or Android app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Owners can set daily goals for activity, post photos through the app, and share progress via social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Voyce - The $299 collar and $15 per month subscription works together to provide owners with trends and valuable insights on your dog’s health, behavior, and well-being from any desktop or mobile device, according to the company. Voyce is not available for purchase yet, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available on their website.
FitBark - Billed as the world’s tiniest wireless activity tracker for dogs, the FitBark led a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2013. According to the company, the device includes a 3D accelerometer and, over time, will learn and categorize your dog’s activities. The FitBark device will retail for $99.
Only time will tell if pet wearables will become a lasting trend. These apps will need to focus on the quality of their apps and of their data, similar to fitness apps focusing on calories AND quality, in order for pet owners to incorporate this technology into their daily lives.