Thursday, May 21, 2015

Over-hyping an "Apple Watch" Dog Collar

A company called DogTilligent has developed an "All-in-One Smart Dog Collar" that has GPS, WiFi capability, an accelerometer, a thermometer, a speaker, LED lights, and a microphone.


Why? You ask WHY?!  Did you ask that when a man climbed Mount Everest? Did you ask that when we sent a man to the moon? Did you ask that when we sent American troops to kill people overseas?

You did? Well O.K. then. Why is always a good question.

The short answer is because they can, and they hope to turn a profit,

The collar is said to "help a dog owner keep track of the dog by warning when the collar has traveled beyond a predetermined location. The Virtual Leash warns the dog when it’s moving away from a human companion by whistling, vibrating, and simulating a tug on the collar."

Awesome. And the dog is supposed to know what this means how?

The DogTelligent app includes pre-programmed commands like sit, stay, down, and come that makes training easier.

Right. A small failure here in common sense.

Pressing a button on a smart phone is not easier, faster, more reliable, or better than a voice command. A voice does not need Wi-Fi and always has battery power.

Training a dog is not about issuing a command -- it's about understanding the command, and that understanding is made through reward, timing, recognition, repetition, and consequence, building towards reliability.

Another point: The fact that this collar vibrates does NOT make this collar an "invisible fence." Stop using that word.

The GPS is great, but as for the "bluetooth technology, WiFi, cellular communication, accelerometer, ambient temperature sensors, ultrasonic micro-speaker, micro-speaker, and microphone" all of that is electronic waste. No one needs any of that. Seriously.  And what about the rest of the stuff this company is also developing but which also fails to address a real need and/or is not made for the real world?  Scrap it and focus on doing ONE thing right.

For those who wonder, this collar is vapor ware for the moment.

 It is not being made by someone who has made a line of ecollars in the past (such as Greg Van Curen, who started Innotek, sold it, and is now developing great new collars at E-Collar Technologies).

 Instead, we are invited to an Indiegogo page where we can pre-order the collar for $120 (a $39 savings "off retail value").

If past campaigns of this type are any indication of how fast it will come, expect a wait of about a year, no real cost savings over that "retail value," and some production and operational problems with the first models.

If I sound cynical, it is only because I am used to folks over-hyping new technology and it's been done (a lot) in the e-collar arena, as I have noted in the past.  Calling this a "smart phone" for your dog presupposes a dog needs a phone.  It doesn't.

Watch the video below and see how attractive this sales pitch is for the dog owner who is not thinking too much, is not very observant, and is a little too quick to pull a credit card. 

Watch the dog go into the road and the owner, driving in his car, tell the dog to SIT.  In the road.

And why is the dog in the road in the first place? Because the "invisible fence" provides nothing more than tone and vibration.

There's more foolishness wrapped in great graphics and a smooth sales pitch, but see for yourself, below.

My advice is:  If you need an invisible fence or a dog training collar, go with a company that has a track record in making those. This is not that company.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Well, a not too clunky GPS collar would be nice, most of the ones on the market now are big clunky things for a smaller dog, but the rest of it......