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Docomo service keeps tabs on dogs

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

NTT Docomo Inc. unveiled a new service for dogs Thursday that enables owners to monitor their pets’ health and location by smartphone.

“We’d like pet owners to have more communication with their dogs through mobile technologies,” Koichi Takahara, Docomo’s director of M2M (machine-to-machine) business, said during a news conference in Tokyo.

The new Petfit service comes with two devices.

A 29-gram tag packed with a 3G communications module, GPS beacon and sensors goes on the dog’s collar. The tag can monitor various phenomena, such as how many steps the canine has taken and how far it has traveled, how many calories it has spent and how long it sleeps.

People can access this information through a special website at any time with their smartphone or computer to track their pet’s health. They can also keep tabs on eating habits and calculate the ideal caloric intake.

In addition, they can receive input from veterinarians on how their dog is doing based on the data collected through Petfit.

The other device is a 92-gram stationary home terminal that connects with the tag through Bluetooth. When the tag and the terminal are disconnected for more than 10 minutes, the owner is alerted via email and is told where their dog is by using the GPS function.

The service will kick off in March for ¥25,900, which covers the hardware, software and communications. The initial fee covers 75 megabytes of data or one year. Renewal will run ¥7,500.

The annual pet market in Japan is estimated at ¥1.4 trillion and there are about 11 million pet dogs.