Why I’m Excited by IoAHT
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT refers to the systems of interrelated devices, machines, objects, people and even animals. As the scope of these technologies widens, there has been a global push for further connectivity.
An interesting recent example is the Amazon Dash Button, which ensures you never run out of those everyday essentials. You get the option to cancel, so if your toddler ordered 364 toilet rolls, they wouldn’t turn up at your door before without you knowing about it.
IoT has numerous applications in the healthcare sector. With the number of smartphone users continuing to rise (2.87 billion by 2020), it’s no surprise medical professionals are taking full advantage of its capabilities. A report in 2015 suggested that digital healthcare could save the US $300 billion in costs.
Internet of Animal Health Things (IoAHT)
Agriculture has been one of the pioneers in IoT. An increase in demand for animal products has motivated farmers to utilise resources effectively; embracing digital is always a sensible option. There are even projects to improve internet connectivity in rural locations, by turning sheep into ‘wifi hotspots’.
This week I thought I would share some of my favourite IoAHT companies.
Founded by a fellow Dick-Vet graduate, Felcana is the next generation of digital petcare. A range of devices set to provide veterinary-quality data, that will help to manage a diverse number of medical conditions. No longer will vets rely on the quality of information provided by an owner, the statistics will be there to analyse appropriately. Monitor how much a cat with renal disease is drinking, or how a dog with canine osteoarthritis is responding to medication. There are numerous applications for this technology which they are set to reveal.
Moocall is a calving alert sensor that attaches to the base of a cow’s tail. During the early calving phase, increased motion is detected and alerts the farmer. This device is set to impact calving mortality rates by prompting faster response times to dystocia.
The Wüf smart device clips to your dog’s collar and can pinpoint their location using GPS, 3G, Bluetooth and an internal compass. This creates the ability of an ‘invisible leash’ and ‘virtual fence’ that alerts the owner if their pet has gone out with a specified boundary. The device also has a social community, training gamification and activity tracking features.
The IoT come with its limitations. With an abundance of data will we start to become paralysed by over-analysis? Consumers and organisations will need to be selective and smart over the source of information they consume.
The other concern I have for these devices is; I barely trust myself with an Apple Watch, I wouldn’t strap one onto my Jack Russell. There are various R&D companies, vigorously investigating implant (microchip) product development. Imagine a chip that could perform the following;
– GPS tracking
– Monitor health, behaviour and vital signs.
– Communication between animal and human
Now that would be exciting.