Panel discusses pets and technology


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Pets and technology — two things that have become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly a South By Southwest panelmore than 11 million Americans have had pets during the pandemic, and as owners take better care of their pets than ever before, our furry friends are becoming family.

The panel called it “the humanization of pets.” One of the featured speakers was Austin Pets Alive! President and CEO Dr. Ellen Jefferson. Last month, the No Kill shelter celebrated its 100,000th birthday. rescued pet since it opened in 2008.

Jefferson agreed that the legislation hasn’t reached the way people treat and care for their pets today.

“There’s a huge disconnect between how people care about their pets, and 98% of people believe their pets are just as important as human family members, yet our laws still treat them like property that has absolutely no inherent value,” said Jefferson called.

One company that makes it easier to meet the needs of your pets, especially dogs, is a startup Fi, which manufactures smart dog collars. Founder and CEO Jonathan Bensamoun, speaking on the panel Monday, explained that the collars not only track your dog’s location, but also your dog’s health, sleep and activity.

The company even has a social media network.

“People can connect their dog to other dogs, see their pictures, interact with them, talk to each other, and we’re building more location-aware features that will allow people to like or like their location or the area they’re in split. They walk their dogs,” he said.

Bensamoun said they’re seeing continued demand for their product as people look to improve the quality of their bond with their dogs. The tracking feature also allows owners to feel free to let their dogs explore on their own.

“I think we’re trying to build as much of an understanding of the dog as possible, and right now we’re detecting movement and we’re trying to derive a lot of behavior and data from the movement of the dog, but there’s a lot of other types of information that we have about the dog.” dog and aggregate at the network level.”

Finally, Bensamoun said that compiling data for hundreds of thousands of dogs can help identify trends in the canine population.

Technology like Fi’s isn’t just important for pet owners, Jefferson said she’s also looking to advance animal shelters.

“There is a critical lack of technology in the animal shelter space, and what we’re trying to foster here at SXSW is an awareness of that and that there is so much that can be done to improve the lives of animals in shelters,” she said.

This includes tracking everything from proper care at shelters, to admissions and vet visits, to time at the adoption level, etc.

“None of that is part of the databases that shelters use and it’s part of the technology that hospitals use and we really need to understand that to move forward, just take a smarter look at how we treat animals in shelters,” he said jefferson .

The panel wouldn’t be complete without an adoptable pooch. APA! brought in ray ray left in an apartment when his family either left or were evicted. He came to the APA! three years ago from the Austin Animal Center.

Jefferson explained Ray Ray has been adopted and returned before, so they’re trying to find the right home for him — whether that be a foster home or a forever home.

  • Ray Ray is adopted by Austin Pets Alive!  He was present at a SXSW panel on Pets and Technology on March 14, 2022.  (KXAN Photo/Jaclyn Ramkissoon)

It was the first time that APA! was represented on a panel at the SXSW.

“We’re just thrilled to be here because it’s an opportunity to reach a larger audience that may perhaps be more helpful in ending the killing of pets in shelters and ending unnecessary human-pet separation in the first place,” said Jefferson.

You can learn more about it Austin Pets Live! on-line.

Olli CEO Nick Stafford also attended the panel on Monday afternoon. His company creates personalized nutrition plans for your dog based on your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and any allergies you may have. Meals are then delivered to your home.

About Clayton Arredondo

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