The biggest trend at CES 2015 is the Internet of Things, an industry term that describes everyday household appliances that can connect to the Internet.
And while being able to preheat your oven from across the country is fun, one of the best uses of the Internet of Things has to be the way it lets pet owners connect with their furry friends when they’re not at home. Here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I tried out two solutions for caring for pooches and kittens from afar.
Petcube is a box with a laser pointer, speaker, and light that you can control from anywhere in the world via the Petcube smartphone app.
I got to play with Petcube, which has begun shipping to early Kickstarter backers, and it seems like it’s everything the company advertises it to be. While standing in a convention center in Las Vegas, I was able to activate a Petcube in an animal shelter in Oakland, California, and play with four cats using a laser pointer.
You control the laser by moving your finger around your iPhone or Android phone’s screen. Anywhere your finger moves, your pet will follow, as long as she likes lasers.
You can also take screenshots of the app and share them via Petcube’s social network. What’s more, you can make your Petcube open to the public, so you can let anyone play with your pet while you’re home or away.
To be honest, letting strangers get a view of your home when you’re away (or home) sounds kind of strange, so maybe you’ll just want to stick with the lasers.
Petcube costs $200 and is available for preorder here.
Motorola Scout 5000
The Scout 5000, on display at CES. (Nic Healey/CNET)
The Petcube isn’t the only Internet-connected pet tech at CES 2015. Motorola’s Scout 5000 attaches to your dog’s collar and features a camera, speaker, microphone, and GPS tracker.
Basically, it lets you see exactly what your dog sees; lets you talk to your dog when you’re not home — which is probably very weird for your dog — and even make sure your dog is safe when you’re away all from a companion smartphone app.
The Scout 5000 is fairly large for a pet-tracking device, so it will fit only medium to large dogs. This is not for your teacup designer dog. It goes on sale this summer for $200.
If these two gadgets are any indication, your pooch or kitty will soon be as connected as you are. And for pet lovers who can’t stand to be away from their little furry ones for even a minute, that’s pretty great.