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Podcast: Connecting your dog might be the first step to real connected health

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A few weeks ago, my dog died of kidney failure. While I had known it was coming, the onset of the disease a month prior was sudden. She went from being my happy, active 13-year-old pup to kidney failure in almost no time. It was devastating, in part because if we had known her kidneys were failing sooner, we might have taken steps that would have prolonged her life.

This is one of the worst-case scenarios that Whistle, a company that launch last week hopes to solve with its connected tracking device for dogs. Ben Jacobs, the CEO of Whistle, lost a beloved dog to a sudden illness when he was eight and the experience stuck with him. In time it prompted him to start Whistle. The device tracks your dog’s movements against data from other Whistle-wearing dogs to determine how your dog stacks up against others of its breed.

In this week’s podcast Jacobs and I discuss how vets, researchers and pet owners could use this data (and in the case of researchers, already are using this data) to track dogs’ health to spot problems earlier and possibly help devise treatments. Because the Whistle doesn’t have to undergo testing from the Food and Drug Administration, it may open the door to proving how the internet of things can change medicine much sooner than human-centric sensors.

(Download this episode)

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Show notes:
Host: Stacey Higginbotham
Guest: Ben Jacobs, CEO of Whistle

  • Why build a connected device for dogs.
  • How data from dogs might change the way people benefit from their connected devices.
  • Creating an ecosystem of devices for connected pets and the $50 billion pet industry in the U.S..
  • Why Whistle isn’t the internet of things equivalent of back in the bubble years of 1999 and 2000.


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