At HERE, we are always looking for new ways to bring our mapping expertise to the broadest range of platforms; that we now have iOS and Android under our belts shows this. We also made our first steps into the wearable tech market with the HERE app for Samsung Gear S.
But while this market has focused primarily on the human wrist - just look at Apple Watch, Pebble Time and Fitbit Surge to name a few - we believe it’s time to enter the wearable hardware market, but with a truly differentiated product.
Today, HERE is delighted to announce HERE Kitty, a geo-intelligent collar for domestic cats that is beneficial for cats and owners alike.
HERE Kitty brings cutting-edge innovation to this emerging wearables category
Our recently appointed head of development, Leo Mouser, says, “This is not just my pet project, but is the first foray into hardware from HERE – and we want to make an impact. Leveraging our map and location intelligence expertise, we wanted to create something that would radically improve the lives of both pets and owners.”
One example of the mutual benefits of HERE Kitty is that it uses HERE maps to show exactly where your cat is down to 10-centimeter precision.
Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research told us: "Cats have gained a prominent position in our modern digital lives. More than 2 million cat videos have been posted on the internet generating over 25 billion views. HERE Kitty, a geo-intelligent collar for hip domestic cats brings cutting-edge innovation to this emerging wearables category. It’s great to see HERE’s “feline-first” strategy which is building on this hot market and target segment."
The BBC recently conducted a study into the daily (and nightly routines) of 50 domestic cats in a village in the UK, using specially designed collar GPS devices and tiny "cat cams”. You can read about the findings here.
We also plan to gather anonymised data from cats wearing HERE Kitty and share it with the Feline Occidental and Oriental Laboratory, a research institute dedicated to the welfare of domestic cats.
Owners can use HERE Kitty to discover if their pet is living a double life. Find out if your feline friend is cheating on you via real-time notifications of its whereabouts. You will quickly discover whether your cat is spending its afternoon out chasing mice or is, in fact, nestling up to the kind elderly lady down the road.
If owners accept the privacy claws in the terms and conditions, they can overlay their cat’s geo-traces on HERE apps through the “moggie-map” option on the menu, available soon.
You can also train your cat to communicate with you remotely via HERE Kitty by teaching it to lick the fish bone symbol on the collar. For example, one lick informs you that your pet is coming home and is hungry, so get the food ready. Three licks, on the other hand, tells you: “don’t wait up, I’m having a late one.”
In the coming months, we will introduce an imaging feature for the collar called PurrView. We believe this will be especially useful for tom cats who want to accurately record their territory in case of disputes with neighbouring males. This feature will also help concerned owners to discover if their cat is cheating on them using the nineLive-Sight app which streams footage from PurrView onto your phone.
The HERE development team is working hard to ensure it will work on all operating systems, including making it backwards compatible with the MewGo OS.
In addition, look out for the JerryJerry accessory, a feline friendly satnav that can be attached to the collar. This will include hunter mode, which aids the cat in stalking prey by showing the most discreet, hidden route to the unsuspecting creature.
In beta tests, owners have given positive feedback on HERE Kitty and its applications. However, the collar has proven divisive in the cat community itself.
I managed to fit in a quick call with Garfield among his busy schedule of eating and sleeping and he suggested that it was humans, and not cats, that should be wearing the collar.
We wanted to create something that would radically improve the lives of both pets and owners
Schrödinger's cat was predictably ambivalent. When asked if he welcomed the HERE Kitty collar he said, “Yes and no”, declining to clarify his statement before getting back into his box.
HERE Kitty will be available later this month. The leather and steel version will cost approximately $249. A premium model, integrating compressed Iron Pyrites, will also be available at $18,000.