Hi Doggy, How Do You Feel Today?

No dog owner can really answer this question… until now! Heyrex is an innovative scientific system that lets you check your dog’s health and wellbeing

After a stressful day at the office and an hour stuck in the traffic jam, you go back home, open the door of your house and you know that your pet is there, just behind the door, waiting for you. There is nothing that will warm your heart more than seeing your dog runs up wagging tail and greets you happily. Dogs are really humans’ best friends, they have the ability to sense how their owners feel, but can you say that you really understand your pet’s feelings?

Sometimes people cannot completely understand dogs’ signs, especially those concerning their health and wellbeing. That’s why Heyrex, a New Zealand-based company, has come up with a solution to constantly monitor dogs’ health.

The idea

The founding innovator was David Gibson, a scientist and mathematician: “He noticed that animals behaviour changed significantly when their health and wellbeing changed – Nathan Laurence, Heyrex CEO, recalls – so he set about developing a means to capture information in real time and to enable any animal’s activity and behaviour to be monitored remotely, to identify the early signs of the onset of illness and thereby minimize the pain and suffering that an animal may suffer should an ailment go unnoticed until too it is too late”.

David unfortunately passed away suddenly in late 2011, but the team has continued to commercialize his vision by enhancing further the product offering and taking it to the world.

Hardware and software: accuracy and design

The product consists of hardware and software: it is an ergonomic collar that monitors key health signs identified from activity levels, mobility, scratching, resting patterns and sleep disturbances. “The hardware part collects the information and the software one interprets and presents it in an appropriate format to a variety of clients that either own, treat or research animal wellbeing”, Lawrence explains.

There are many features to take care of such as accuracy of data, timely analysis, ergonomics, ease of set-up, user experience, confidentiality of data and even things like battery life that for Heyrex is a year (minimum). “All of these things are important and many have an impact on another consideration”.

“At Heyrex our overriding design considerations are around accuracy, reliability and user experience. We believe that these are the key things that any designer must always keep as the ultimate goals.”

The challenge: quality and scientific support

“Heyrex developed a product firmly based on veterinary and statistical science - Mr Lawrence says - if we don’t believe that an application is accurate, we won’t include it in our offering”, and according to him this has been the biggest challenge and time investment as “as you can spend a lot of time developing and find in the end that the concept does not meet our minimum standards”.

Lawrence explains that developing a product like Heyrex means focusing and investing both on hardware and software mixed with serious veterinary science. “You have to manage the development process along a number of separate but co-reliant tracks. The key thing is to ensure that each development track is kept under control in terms of objectives and also that they all keep moving ahead at similar speeds so that you end up with all ingredients being ready at the right time and budgets being managed effectively”, Lawrence says.

According to Lawrence developing such a product means that you also need investors that appreciate that there needs to be an ability to fund the inevitable extras, and that will continue to support the vision and the management team.

“People who can only offer money are not always your best investment partners”

A scientific support is important for the team because their product is not only target to pet owners but also to veterinary professionals. Heyrex is manufactured in New Zealand, that is generally known for its ethical business, “because just as we set minimum standards for applications, we also have minimum standards for manufacturing and to have our manufacturers close ensures that we can do this – Lawrence says - but it is a globally accessible service, so we can deliver it anywhere.

The company is seeking distribution and direct veterinary group and pet speciality retail relationships, and also working on some EU relationships at present and would be pleased to hear from pet industry players”.

Heyrex’s future

The company is now focusing on the growth of the business and is planning to add new applications in the future. “Of course we have a few new ideas that we think will make an even bigger difference to the global animal sector”, Lawrence concludes.

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Barry Hall
06 Feb, 2014 Barry Hall
I've try it and I have to say that it works well