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Review: Voyce is the wellness monitor for dogs that makes wearables vividly relevant

Jon Phillips | May 28, 2015
Even if you retired your Fitbit or Fuelband to a desk drawer long ago, you may still find room in your heart for another activity-tracking wearable. No, not for you--for your dog. The Voyce health and wellness monitor bypasses human biology entirely, and sets its sights on canis familiaris, a species with much less capricious technology habits.

Whiskey doesn't show any indication that she's annoyed by the LED or even wearing the collar in the first place, but clearly i4C knows the LED is a friction point for humans. The current LED has an auto-dimming feature for low-light situations, and the company says this will improve even further when Voyce moves to a new LED.

Can you put a price on a family member's health?

With new pricing in June, i4C Innovations is dropping the cost of its Voyce hardware to $200, but is increasing the price of its mandatory membership plans by 50 percent. Granted, $150 a year is a low recurring cost for a platform with such promising health benefits. Because have you seen a vet bill lately? Still, I have to once again point out that Fitbit, Jawbone, Withings and other human activity tracker companies don't charge membership fees.

The collar isn't pretty, but that isn't a deal-breaker. The platform doesn't have a mobile app, but one is coming. The band won't fit toy breeds, but a smaller version is on the way. And the blinking green LED is distracting, but i4C is working on a fix.

In sum total: Voyce suffers a number of version 1 problems, but the most serious ones are being addressed. "Casual" pet parents will bristle at the idea of paying membership fees, but "casual" pet parents probably shouldn't care for pets in the first place. Would I buy Voyce if total cost of ownership added up to $1000 a year? Probably not. Instead I would lean on my vet to spot trouble signs. But $350 a year isn't an exorbitant price for all the interesting insights and diagnostic data that Voyce provides.

 

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