We live in a reality where our world is being transferred into digitized system and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is playing a significant role in our daily life which should be implemented in our beloved pet’s life as well. Traditionally, pet lover either adopt or purchase their companions and seek assistance with services such as vet, pet walking, training, pet minding, insurance etc. from disparate apps or platforms which are not interlinked. In reality, a pet owner will change the essential pet service providers numbers of times due to poor service, physical relocation, new trends and etc. Absence of a centralized database system leads to unnecessary expenses, potential health issues and rough experience in general. Pet owning has grown significantly in the past decade. These growths boosted the pet industry as it accounts for more than $70 billion (2018 ) while Australia itself accounts for $12.6 billion. Our pet companions evolve from traditional home animal to a prestigious family member. It is not a secret that pet owners spend a significant amount of their money on their fur friends even though the market still lacks a centralized platform or system. On average allegedly unusual behaviour of pet which can trigger a pet visit can cost you $120 for 15 mins consultation, while other services charge significant amount of money which is not recorded in any ledger or system and not being used for the benefit of pet under circumstances such as change of ownership or for personal records as they are our fur babies and we care about their lives as much as our real ones.
Based on recent market survey, more than 84% of respondents indicated that if their pet shows any sign of unusual behaviour/condition such as nose bleeding, they would Google first and would most likely end up with an immediate visit to VET CLINIC. Additionally, more than 20% of respondents indicated that they took ownership of pet without documents which they regret badly due to consequent money spend on the well-being of the pet.
Using machine learning technologies, a pet owner can ask/report concerning activity/question to the app and get an immediate customized answer. PetMate will have manually added information of the pet by owner when a pet was acquired such as breed, shape, size, age and since all services (vet, pet walking, recent purchases, training) are done via our single-window services, the respective information will be stored in the Digital ID. Our AI system will drive information from Google API and self-learning system based on Digital ID database to produce a recommendation for the owner. Essentially, a pet owner can be recommended that the symptoms which pet is showing are not emergency and give an estimated percentage of potential causes and recommendations and set expectations of potential issues. The data over time will improve itself as the data all over the world will be stored on our system and that will boost the machine learning process. In the same fashion, when you move to a new location, change services or change ownership of the pet, the system will produce a digital ID form which will encompass all the services been provided along with any other notes from the lifetime of the pet. That would remove any concerns about a pet’s well-being. Digitization and AI implementation into our pet’s life will contribute a pleasant and smooth experience along with the low cost of owning a pet while building a great memory of our loved companions.
After relocating to Hobart, Tasmania, I decided to get a pet mate as I was lonely, new to town, and residential circumstances actually allowed me to have one unlike my previous accommodation in Sydney CBD. I was searching a single platform where I can tap into, or enter and get all my questions answered rather than searching individually how to get pet, where to get pet from, where are the vets, shops, dog walking services and since I identify myself as gen of review readers, I couldn’t find anything from single platform. Later on, I contacted some pet owners over the gumtree app to take ownership of their pet but they failed to provide any paperwork and it was hard for me to take a risk. Again, living in the era where your LinkedIn is considered a reflection of your career history and Facebook reflection of your social/personal life, I felt a need of a digital profile or rather ID for pets.
What it does
Essentially, it is a single-window platform which pet owners can utilize to get their pet services done which in return records and keeps a detailed log of the pet’s life. Those data along with Machine Learning mechanism is used for our AI support which enables users to ask real-time questions about their pet’s unusual behaviour and get instant recommendations. Essentially, machine learning will use Google API to answer the question
How WE built it
That was intense. We searched and tried a number of template-based mobile app builders and eventually ended up using a platform called Appery which helped us to build the skeleton with functioning buttons as a prototype. Due to the time limitation, we were not able to code it on Android or Apple platforms however the prototype we made is functional on both OS.
Challenges WE ran into
Thinking too big, complicating the matter and not being able to find "MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT" at the early stage.
Accomplishments that WE proud of
Pioneering the implementation of AI via machine learning system into our pet companion’s life. Additionally, creating the first Digital Pet ID which enables pet owners to track and refer to the history of their beloved friends. Last but not the least, we were privileged to be mentored by industry practitioners which enhance and polished our ideas and helped us to perfect the presentation.
What WE learned
It was a great experience to be able to get face to face mentoring sessions directly from successful industry practitioners who helped us to make the complex simple. We also understood that customers/users/consumers have different approach into our ideas and regardless of how great idea is if it is not approved from the customer side first it is useless.
What's next for PetMate
Next stage is all about expansion, growth hacking and reaching out for angel investor, venture capitalist and start-up lovers to get off the ground. Once we are up and running, a new section called "community" will be introduced which will enable like-minded pet owners to find each other on GPS based maps and go for a walk, drink, meal and etc at a pet-friendly (recommended by PetMate) locations.