Last year was a tough one for many industries, but the pet tech market was not among them—particularly when it comes to smart devices for pets. According to market research firm Packaged Facts, “smart” pet products—which it classifies as using WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS or RFID (radio frequency identification)—was a $555 million category in 2020, up 13 percent from the year before.
David Lummus, pet market analyst for Packaged Facts, sees the growth of pet tech as an outgrowth of the digitization of our human games and toys.
“It’s basically just sort of a natural evolution within the pet market as it is in the human market,” he says. “With more people using smartphones, more people online, more people become more comfortable with automation.”
While there’s no standard definition of smart products, the Harvard Business Review notes that they are “complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software and connectivity in myriad ways.” Smart pet products cover numerous categories and provide a range of benefits that make them an attractive option:
- They give your pet more autonomy. For example, the PetSafe Electronic SmartDoor uses radio-frequency technology to let your pet enter and leave as they please via a SmartKey worn on your pet’s collar.
- They give pet parents more autonomy. Products like automatic feeders and automatic cat litter boxes allow pet parents to be away from their home for extended periods of time.
- They keep your pet safe. Trackers on dog collars use GPS to discern the location of your dog so they don’t get lost.
- They keep your pet company. The Pet Qwerks Talking Babble Ball Dog Toy offers up to 20 different expressions to engage your dog when you’re away.
Even as pet parents increasingly incorporate existing high-tech smart pet devices into their lives, new game-changing offerings continue to hit the market. Check out these finds from CES 2021, the Consumer Technology Association’s annual trade show held mid-January in Las Vegas:
- The Chamberlain MyQ Pet Portal, which lets your dog open a pet door via a sensor on their collar. A “request” mode will alert you when your dog wants to go out and let you open the portal remotely. Available for pre-order.
- Sniffy Labs’ Sniffy App, a dog-training app that provides customized, professional dog training support for new dog parents. Available now for iOS and Android.
- Petpuls’ AI-powered smart collar, which uses voice-recognition technology to track five different emotional states in pets. In what seems like a product plucked from a Pixar movie, the collar translates those states to let you know what your pup is saying. Available for pre-order.
Interested in adding tested-technologies to your pet-centric house? Here are some we recommend to save you time and trouble:
Automatic Litter Boxes
GPS and Activity Trackers
High-Tech Pet Doors
High-Tech Pet Toys