For many social media users, pets dominate their feed. Usually, it’s for a good reason: cats and dogs are always adorable to look at online. Humans, not so much. So it was only a matter of time before someone created a social media network designed just for pets and related pet issues. Singapore is leading in that respect with Pet Widget. Designed as a means to both share your love of your pets with like-minded people and foster greater pet awareness. I spoke briefly with the founder, Ivan Loh about the site and its companion technology, the Badge.
Pet Widget and in search of better pet care
The concept behind Pet Widget came to Ivan Loh after the painful process of retrieving his labradors in Singapore. Vowing never to let such an experience happen again, Pet Widget was created. The concept is simple enough. Owners create an account and link a pet to said account. Like Facebook, you upload information about the pet, owner’s details and photos. That would be enough for most people, but it goes further. The site also acts as a reminder to owners about vaccinations and vet visits. It even lists pet-friendly business like cafes, nearest veterinary services and groomers and can even arrange for transportation.
There is even a chat option called Pet Talk, where you can talk to other owners about your pet. So if you only ever use Facebook to talk about your dog, this social media outlet should be perfect. If you want company while walking your dog, Pet Widget even has you covered by helping you find a walking buddy.
Badge, the tracking device
Alongside the actual social media site, Pet Widget has launched a device called the Badge. Labelled “the first intelligent pet ID tag of its kind in Singapore,” it uses Near Field Communication and QR technology. You attach it to a collar, so if anyone finds your pet lose in the wild, they can scan the QR code to find your details. Once scanned, owners can find the last scanned location of your pet.
When asked why it doesn’t just track pets live, Loh explains, “unlike traditional trackers, Badge is affordable, compact, and does not incur recurring fees. It’s low-maintenance, not hindered by being covered or indoors, and does not need to be charged.” Mostly it is being marketed as an attach and forget kind of technology, which for S$29 is a good deal.
There are of course other limitations other than a lack of live tracking. The badge is strictly bound to one user. If a pet is owned by more than one person, Loh says, “we currently advise the owners to share the Pet Widget account, as the app supports multiple concurrent logins. This way, all the owners can manage the Badge features for the same pet with just one Badge/device.” So if you are interested in keeping track of neighbourhood cats, for example, a community account needs to be created.
Launch and the next step
Pet Widget launched last week on 25 November. Badge, retailing at S$29, can be found in some retailers like Naiise, Kohe pets and several other pet stores. After a few days, Loh says that there are 2000 active users on the site. Loh has ambitions of expanding beyond Singapore, aiming to hit 2.2million users around the world by 2020. One last thing to keep in mind, however, is that the app is only available in English. Loh says that when the global expansion goes to countries that are not English speaking, localisation efforts will be taken by local stakeholders.
If this application interests you, visit the website here for more details.