When most people think of pet ownership, animals like dogs and cats come to mind. But over the past 20 years or so, the reptile pet market (frogs, snakes, lizards, turtles, etc.) has exploded, and that has been both a blessing and a curse for the industry. On the positive side, the industry has seen record profits, increased awareness of proper ownership, and mass-market availability of everything from supplies to veterinary care. The negative stems primarily from demographics—the average reptile owner is 18-to-24 years old and economically unstable. Reptiles are inexpensive to buy but, like any pet, costly to maintain relative to the purchase price. This puts the creatures at grave risk when their owners fall on hard times, which happens frequently.
IoT to the rescue!
Service providers have a golden opportunity to both substantially enhance the reptile market and eliminate a lot of its darker elements. Young people are tech savvy, live on their cell phones, and are big fans of social media. In fact, they already are turning their reptile friends into internet ‘stars’. That means integrating IoT-enabled devices into their pet’s lives will be a seamless undertaking, especially given its ‘cool’ factor.
So, what can IoT do? In general, it can give owners of all ages a turnkey system that monitors pet health and sends alerts when something is wrong or needs attention. Sensors inside the terrarium can be calibrated to each species’ unique requirements, even to the point of creating realistic days and nights similar to the reptile’s natural habitat. Feedings also become automatic, as the sensors can determine the right amount of food to dispense, whether it’s being eaten or not, and if eating patterns are normal for the species (in order to detect illness early).
Strategically placed web cams can record images/video and automatically post to social media if preset criteria are triggered, such as when a lizard starts playing with a new toy. They also can be finely tuned to pick up minute body signals, enabling the owner to understand more of what the reptile is ‘saying’. And the entire terrarium environment can be monitored closely for aberrations in climate, lighting, or even intruders, such as a curious cat. Once an anomaly is detected, alerts are sent to the owner’s smart phone.
But the real benefit of IoT is how it can dramatically improve the reptile pet industry. By automating ownership tasks, reptile care becomes remarkably simplified and even economical. The social media/tech aspect of IoT further encourages deep and constant engagement with the pet. These factors mitigate a lot of potential neglect issues, enhancing the reptile’s life. Plus, the system can be linked with the reptile community, offering the owner an easy way to give the pet to a more caring home if economic/living situations change.
Service providers who unlock this growing niche can both realize tremendous revenue and literally help change an entire industry for the better.
For more information on what the IoT can do for your pets, contact Neo.