Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dog Tech: Updates!

The dog wearable tech market is expanding, and there's a lot of fun new smart collars and pet trackers on the horizon. March seems to be the month when almost everything will hit the market for real, and I'm hoping to have my hands on a couple of new products within the next month.

Whistle 2 - What We're Using Now
Dog wearables and pet GPS trackers

Whistle 2 is our first pet tracker smart collar wearable, and currently the only one I have actually used in person. Zip has been wearing this activity/GPS tracker for six weeks now. With our normal weekly routine of spending all day long away from the base station, and not using the active tracking feature, the battery lasts five days.

Whistle 2 is great if I want to know what my dog was up to yesterday. The active tracking is nice when I want to know precisely where my dog was 3 minutes ago. The alerts that my dog has left the safe zone arrive approximately 8-15 minutes after she has actually left. Overall the system is pretty good as long as I don't mind waiting for information. The tracker syncs with the base station and uploads data every 12-24 hours, so I can't use it to tell if Zip needs some extra dinner after a super active day because I don't normally have that data until the next morning.

The weekly report is nice, it gives me a summary of Zip's activity and rest, and compares it to other border collies the same age. She averages about two hours of high activity, and 13 hours of rest per day. I haven't had occasion to actually use the active tracking for anything other than my own amusement yet, but so far I'm not finding Whistle 2 to be worth the $10/month subscription fee.

Whistle 3 - February 2017?

Whistle 3 will use wifi, GPS, Bluetooh, and 3G cellular signal to accurately track your pet and record their activity. The collar unit is smaller than Whistle 2, so it's possible this one will be appropriate for cats as well as dogs. Whistle 3 is in the pre-order stage right now, and is scheduled for release this month. I have a bunch of questions for the Whistle team, but so far they've been saying they've "get back to me right away" for well over a month.

Nuzzle - March 2017

I love Nuzzle so much, I ordered them for all three dogs. This is a 3G/wifi/Bluetooth collar with geofencing, temperature monitoring, everything I want in a smartcollar. It does not work with a base station like Whistle 2, it just needs me, my dog, and my smartphone. It also does not have a subscription fee. Nuzzle comes with two batteries so I won't have to take it off to charge it every few days. We were expecting our Nuzzles to ship in the middle of January, but they discovered a quality control issue that has delayed the process until mid-March. 

I absolutely love this company because they have been extremely forthcoming with information about the shipping delay. I know exactly what happened, what they are doing to remedy the situation, and how long it will take. They even provided a breakdown of the entire process, and how long each step will take. Since the original notification of the delay, I have received two addition email updates. While I'm a bit sad to have to wait long for my smart collars, I am extremely pleased with how the company is handling it.

Link AKC - March 2017

I pre-ordered a Link AKC (<- this is an affiliate link) smart collar back in December, and at the time they were not forthcoming with an expected launch date. I've been expecting to get an email about it shipping since mid-January. I finally got a launch countdown notification a few days ago, and I'm expecting our collar to ship in early March. This is another wifi/GPS/Bluetooth/3G device, and it works with a base station that can be charged in the car. It can also use my phone as a base station. Link AKC has the unfortunate combination of a sky-high price and a monthly subscription fee, so I don't know how long we'll be using this one.

Pod 3 - March 2017

Pod 3's triple-funded Kickstarter (<- this is an affiliate link) projects it's shipping date at the end of March, with the interchangeable modules shipping in May. This is the smallest pet wearable out there, it was inspired by a beloved cat that went missing. It's a wifi/GPS/Bluetooth/3G device with a monthly subscription fee. I really want one, but I can't actually to buy ALL the smart collars.

Kyon - March 2017

The Kyon smart collar can display messages like "I'm lost!", and the GPS can tell you what floor your dog is on in the building. This is another one with both a high price ($250) and a monthly subscription fee. It offers temperature sensing, which is a big plus. It also uses a base station to set a safe zone. Kyon is an actual collar to which you can attach a leash, it doesn't have a removable module that can strap onto any collar or harness. This one is expected to ship at the end of March 2017.

Scollar - August 2017

Scollar is a small smartcollar designed for cats and small dogs. Unlike most pet wearables, this one has a tappable display right on the collar. This one does GPS tracking, and has add-on modules for geofencing and vibration. There is a lot of emphasis on reminders for medication, feeding, and flea and tick treatments. This is an interesting one, but not one of my must-haves.

WUF - Summer 2017?

Wuf is unique because it is intended to be upgradable. My smartwatch isn't even upgradable! It offers tracking, geofencing, and a virtual leash, but their Kickstarter was fully funded two years ago so I'm not putting a lot of faith in the Wuf team at this point.

Buddy - Nobody Knows...

Squeaker's Buddy collar sounded amazing, it was going to have customizable LED colors and patterns in addition to all the wonderful smart collar features. They missed their October 2016 release date though, and started sending out refunds for their IndieGoGo backers four months ago. Nobody has responded to comments on the campaign page in three months, and nearly all mention of Buddy has been removed from the Squeaker website.

No comments:

Post a Comment