It’s no secret that pet ownership in the US has increased dramatically over the last few years. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASPCA found that 23 million American households— nearly 1 in 5 nationwide– adopted a pet during the pandemic. As I myself am included in that statistic, I am acutely aware of how important pets are to their people. Pet owners are deeply invested, both financially and emotionally, in their animals’ behavior and health; so it should come as no surprise that when it comes to data analytics for pet ownership, the market is wide.
Cameras: The Petsitter for the Modern Owner
Sitting comfortably on my coffee table is evidence of that broad market for pet data, and its name is Furbo. Furbo is about 9” tall, with a sleek white plastic finish and hourglass shape. A small camera peeks out from its midsection. For many pet owners, myself included, Furbo and other pet cameras act as petsitters, keeping an eye out for motion and providing peace of mind and information access to their owners.
The market for pet cameras is growing fast. Rising urbanization, return-to-work policies, and the baseline increase in pet ownership has drastically increased the need (and desire) for people to be able to check in on their pets while they’re out. Technavio estimates that the current market for pet cameras is around $300MM, with a 16.6% CAGR. A simple internet search for pet cameras reveals a market with dozens of competitors, most providing some form of motion tracking and a two-way audio communication system. Some even allow people to remotely toss treats to their pets.
Differentiating with Data
The major differentiator for Furbo comes from their use of data analytics. Furbo was the first major pet camera to integrate AI into their system, and they now offer a subscription “Dog Nanny Service.” Along with the standard offering of a security camera, this AI Dog Nanny can tell when a dog is barking, detect the presence of a person, and even can alert when it detects smoke or breaking glass. As AI/ML models gain more data they improve. Furbo is even exploring applications of AI to allow for remote training, detecting when a dog is sitting or laying down in response to audio commands. While there are dozens of other pet security cameras touting peace of mind through visual access, few do it with the same analytical aptitude as Furbo.
Data is valuable because it removes uncertainty from our lives, and when it comes to our pets uncertainty can be agonizing. They can’t speak and tell us when something is wrong, or if there’s an emergency while we’re out they can’t pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1. The peace of mind knowing that a camera can not only monitor our pets but can accurately detect their behaviors and environment is an enormous differentiator for Furbo against their competitors. As their AI models continue to improve, it will be exciting to see how they position themselves further into animal safety and training to help make life a little easier for the modern pet owner.