There’s a handful of pet monitoring gadgets out there that enables you to check on your pet and know when your favorite pair of high heels are about to get chewing on.
Yeah, there’s that…
… and there’s PetChatz!
It’s a pet monitoring device that enables you to Greet & Treat® your pet remotely!
And with us today is Lisa Lavin, Founder and CEO of PetChatz®!
Hey Lisa. Great to have you with us today!
Let’s get this started, shall we…
In 2011, Dr. Mark Kroll told you about his invention and immediately realized it’s consumer potentials.Can you take us back to that time a little bit, what convinced you that PetChatz is going to be a hit?
It was a serendipitous lunch, really. I was eating with Dr. Mark Kroll, former [chief technical officer] of St. Jude Medical. He’s actually the No. 1 medical device inventor in the world with over 350 patents to his name. So this is a guy who thinks innovation. And we were having lunch at the old Sunsets Wayzata and this question popped in my head: “Mark, do you have any patents burning a hole in your back pocket?” And he said, “Nobody has ever asked me about that before, but yes, as a matter of fact, I do.” So he starts telling me about this patent around a pet phone where a pet parent could remotely interact with their pet from anywhere in the world—not only audio/visually—but also give them a treat and dispense scents. What you have to know about me, though, is a little bit of my background. I have a long history of building new businesses and commercializing products in animal care as well as healthcare industry. The first half of my career I was in veterinary medicine and academia; I even wrote a textbook that is used in vet schools globally. So I immediately connected the dots.
It wasn’t just an overnight thing, at least not until you shipped it out, can you tell us about the first prototypes of this one of a kind pet monitoring device? What were the challenges you had to deal with?
As with any new-to-the-world product, the development of PetChatz was challenging. We had to develop not only the hardware and software to operate the system, but we also had to develop the cloud infrastructure to support audiovisual streaming and remote PetChatz device control via a smartphone and computer. We essentially were creating a new “Skype” on steroids.
As with any web-based product, PetChatz is dependent on fast internet speed. Unfortunately, our country is a bit behind on creating high speed internet access to all users.
With all that, after 5 long years of development, we are pleased to launch PetChatz HD and PawCall. Now, I can call my pet and my pet can CALL ME!
Let’s talk a bit about Anser Innovation. What’s your story to tell?
Anser Innovation is an award-winning technology company pioneering internet-based consumer electronics that enable “being there from anywhere”. We are creating an ‘Internet of Things’ for those who are technology challenged.
Anser’s first product is called PetChatz® (www.petchatz.com), a patented, first-of-kind Greet & Treat® videophone. Anser’s next product line provides a solution for medication non-adherence.
We’ve learned that you are currently working on a web-enabled audiovisual communication and medication therapy management system – Can you give us a quick overview of this tech?
Each day, 10,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. By 2030, 18% of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older. As we age, we want to maintain our independence as long as possible – for quality of life and cost reasons. Unfortunately, as we age, we lose our independence because of social disconnection and memory issues that translate into accidents such as medication errors. Each year, approximately $290 billion dollars is spent treating adverse drug events in the U.S. – accounting for 14% of healthcare costs in the United States. Confusion and forgetfulness is one of the top causes of adverse drug events.
Over 43.5 million Americans care for someone over 50 or older. We need to stay socially connected to our elders and be assured they are taking the right medication at the right time. Current solutions such as pillboxes, even electronic pillboxes, are not working.
The product (currently in development) is a practical web-application controlled audiovisual communication and medication management system for caregivers and their dependents. By using a smart phone or computer, a caregiver can use this web-enabled communication and medication management device to have an audiovisual interaction and dispense prepackaged solid form medications to their dependent. Further, the caregiver can watch their dependent consume the medication. The caregiver and dependent can experience joy seeing and communicating with each other. The caregiver has the peace of mind knowing that their dependent is taking the right medication at the right time.
I’m sure our readers would like to get updates, where can they subscribed for updates on that?
Great! Going back to PetChatz HD…
There’s the 1.0 version and the later, the HD version. What pushed this major upgrade? How did it help market wise?
We are a Voice-of-Customer driven organization. Everything we do is based on customer input and feedback. As such, we decided to test launch our first product (PetChatz 1.0) before rolling out into mass markets.
We learned a lot from this test launch. We learned what our customers liked and what they wanted to see improved. With this input, we developed PetChatz HD. PetChatz HD has a new, high definition, low-light camera and new sound system. PetChatz HD is also bluetooth enabled to work with a new accessory – PawCall®. With PawCall – my pet can call me AND enjoy fun games during those long days alone. PetChatz provides peace of mind to pet parents knowing that their furry family member is safe and having fun via interactive PetChatz & PawCall fun during their absence.
Interestingly, it comes with sound and motion detection. We usually encounter these feature on full-time home security systems and gadgets. Can you give us a quick overview on how does its sensors work? How far can it detect sound and motion?
Pet parents want to know what is going on in their home and with their pet when they are gone. This is why we have integrated sound and motion detection with PetChatz. If there is an event in my absence, PetChatz will send me alerts. This provides a greater level of peace of mind knowing by pet and my house is safe.
The relaxing scent and PetChatz ringtone both features are indeed unique to PetChatz HD, that explains your patent protection. But what’s the science behind the scent and the ringtone? We want to know how it would benefits our pets. Can you shed some light on this.
According to experts, sniffing is one of the most important senses to our pet and plays an important role in our pet’s social interaction. Have you noticed that the first thing your dog does when you come home is smell you? Human noses have about six million olfactory sensor receptors. A beagle nose has over three hundred million olfactory sensor receptors! Just think, a dog’s sense of smell is more than 50 times more powerful than ours. The ringtone is a behavioral trigger event for my pet. Using classic conditioning, my pets have been trained to come to PetChatz when they hear the ringtone. And they do come running – cause they know they are going to get a treat! We have incorporated all of the senses (smell, sight, sound and taste) into the PetChatz experience because we know this is important to our pets.
About the App, is it shareable? Say for example we have two or more pets in the house and decide to purchase 2 PetChatz: can it be controlled by multiple users? How can we make this set-up work?
Absolutely! The PetChatz app is user name and password protected. You can share these credentials with anyone you’d like to share in the fun with your pet.
If I need further help training my pet to respond to PetChatz HD and use PawCall, where should I go?
We provide pet trainer-developed user guides and videos for training. If you need further assistance, the PetChatz Customer Care team is always there to help at [email protected]
Thanks for that, Lisa!
PawCall is another great addition to PetChatz. We’re just wondering how this tech works… how can we make it work? And how do we know that we needed one for our pet?
You know your pet misses you while you’re away. What if they could call you to let you know?
PetChatz PawCall® is the first-ever technology that allows dogs and cats to call their parents while away for treats, love and attention.
The PawCall accessory – which can be purchased separately and connects seamlessly via Bluetooth to PetChatz HD – will let pets call their parents. When pet parents want their pets to know they can call them, they schedule call times in the PetChatz web app, which causes the paw-shaped light on the PawCall button to blink. Pets can then press the PawCall button to place a call to their parents.
What is more, PawCall is a gaming device for your pet. Pet parents can schedule “Game Mode” in their absence where the pet can have fun hitting the PawCall button and get treats on their own!
The PetChatz HD system features pet trainer-developed instructions to help parents easily train their pets to respond to PetChatz HD calls, and learn to place calls with the PawCall button.
Final question, we’ve seen a couple of upgrades and addition for the last 5 years. Where would you take us next and what’s the future for PetChatz?
We continue to improve PetChatz everyday and provide frequent free, over-the-air software updates. In addition, we are developing a new (2.0) Operating System that will provide PetChatz users new features and enhancements.
Before we let you go, do you have any special announcements to make?
PetChatz will be expanding internationally soon! Also, keep an eye out for PetChatz on TV. Lot’s of exciting things happening for PetChatz pack!
Thanks Lisa for your time and for this opportunity to interview you! We would love to do this again in the nearest future!
Thank you everyone! Comment below anything you want to address to Lisa. Make sure to keep an eye for our in depth review of PetChatz HD!