On the overheated days when it seems like dumb hype about wearables is inescapable, someone over beers always makes a snarky remark about “wearables for pets.” The thing is, it’s a real market. Americans will spend $51.5 billion on their pets this year, $14 billion of that on veterinary care. Pets get sick, and owners want to take care of them.
Voyce is an activity fitness tracker for dogs. It’s a little easy to make fun of, as long as you’re not caring for one. Right now, Wendy Weinberger, its SVP of operations, told us, Voyce is for larger breeds, though they’re working on models for smaller pups.
The tracker module, as one might expect, is on a collar. The band weighs six ounces and can fit neck sizes from 12 to 22 inches. The band’s got an accelerometer and one-week LiIon battery, and a WiFi radio. Data is uploaded to Voyce’s servers when the collar is within range of up to 10 known WiFi networks. That’s a good choice, as it doesn’t require the presence of a dog’s owner to transmit information. You could, for instance, set up a kennel’s network as authorized, so you can track your dog’s activity while it’s being boarded.
Voyce’s collar tracks the usual metrics: heart rate, movement, rest, and respiration. The data can be shared with a vet.
Beyond that, Voyce promises to feed owners information that’s specific to a pet’s breed and physical condition. You tell the app your pet’s breed and size, and you’ll be sent articles specifically about, say, Golden Labs and not mastiffs. Presumably, each breed has a particular behavioral and movement profile, and you’ll be alerted when your dog is out of the norm.
People frequently ask about GPS, Weinberger said, but that’s not what the product is about. First of all, GPS is bulky and has significant power requirements. She said Voyce is talking to partners who might make outboard GPS modules that connect with Voyce, but that GPS will not be part of the product itself.
Voyce will be available in the fall, Weinberger said, for $299, plus a $15/month membership.