Monday, April 15, 2013
Beyond GPS: New Pet Devices with NFC (Near Field Comunication)
Let’s face it the market for connected pet products is saturated with solutions that use GPS to locate lost animals. Even within the past month new connected merchandise including a dog fence and GPS collars, among others, have been making headlines. But a new option caught my eye recently that is taking a slightly different approach from many of the mainstream solutions on the market—a pet tag with embedded NFC technology.
The PetHub ID tag already has a QR code, a Web address, and the traditional phone number, but will be available with NFC technology starting next week—just in time for National Pet ID Week. NFC enables mobile devices to connect and transfer data by tapping them together. Individuals that stumble across a lost dog or cat can tap NFC-enabled phones to the tags to get detailed information about the pet.
Now, wait, isn’t the phone number printed on the tag all you really need? Maybe not. In case the person that has discovered the pet can’t get a hold of the owner by phone, NFC and QR codes can provide additional data about a pet that simply won’t fit on a tag. Such data includes multiple different phone numbers, critical medications, license and rabies tag information, microchip number, vaccinations, pet insurance status, and more.
With one out of three pets being lost at some point during their life and only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats that enter shelters being returned to original owners, according to the American Humane Assn., any data that can be made available in times of need can be very helpful. PetHub says its smart tags have a 97% return rate, with 25% being returned in less than an hour.
For pet lovers, these types of ID tags are simply another tool in an arsenal of many to ensure beloved animals don’t go missing for too long.
In a market inundated with GPS devices for tracking pets, I am excited to see an innovative new use of technology. Here’s hoping other markets will take a cue from this one. There are many options to get connected; sometimes it just requires thinking a bit outside the box.