Features geofencing and virtual leash functionality
Softeq was tasked with developing a mobile app, admin portal, and firmware for the connected device. The solution allows dog owners to create virtual fences, which prevent pets from leaving a designated area, and keep dogs within a safe distance using virtual leash functionality.
Softeq developed a mobile app, admin portal, and firmware for PAWS’ smart dog collar.
The client wanted to create a smart dog collar. The product would be geared toward dog owners living in private homes that want to keep their pets safe.
The smart collar was meant to be a more effective and innovative alternative to traditional solutions:
The connected device would allow dog owners to create virtual fences, which prevent pets from leaving a designated area, and keep dogs within a safe distance using virtual leash functionality.
The client addressed Softeq to develop a cross-platform mobile application, back end, firmware, and web admin portal for the connected collar.
Through a mobile app, users can set up automatic behavioral corrections and give instant commands.
The solution features a sophisticated business logic that enables users to create virtual fences or apply instant commands on their mobile phone directly via Bluetooth or by connecting to a Wi-Fi or LTE network. Users can configure a number of behavior corrections that are applied when a dog approaches or steps beyond the virtual fence. The solution is integrated with Mapbox—an interactive mapping tool that helps set up virtual fences by touching points on a map.
The solution supports over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates, which will help our client roll out new features and security patches after the collar hits the shelves.
We chose Xamarin for the iOS mobile app so that we could reuse the codebase to create an Android version in the future. The framework also enables a simpler debugging process, which will help our client reduce the application maintenance costs.
The mobile app enables the user to:
Through the mobile app, users can configure areas where different types of automated corrections are applied. Depending on the user's choice, it may be a sound, vibration, or a static signal.
In addition to automatic corrections, users can apply instant commands.
When designing the firmware architecture, we implemented several mechanisms to extend the smart collars’ battery life:
We use the Zendesk service to provide support to end-users.
If problems or questions arise, users can send an online request to a support specialist and continue the communication via live-chat without leaving the mobile app and logging in again (thanks to the Zendesk SSO feature). Users can also attach screenshots or even send application logs so the customer support specialist can help solve the problem as soon as possible. This approach also helps to lighten the workload for the customer support team by limiting the amount of phone calls they need to field.
If a user has issues with the mobile app, they can provide a support specialist with one-time access to their account by generating an individual one-time token with a limited lifetime. Using this token, they will be able to log in into the user’s account and solve the problem.
The solution can send automatic email notifications to end-users related to:
End-to-end data encryption and client's control over trade secrets
To protect user data and eliminate the possibility of the collar being hacked, we implemented security mechanisms for data communication between smartphones and the devices using Bluetooth and Azure Cloud Services. All messages between the collar and smartphone are encrypted. If stolen, collars cannot be reused without approval of the Halo app admin.
The client also wanted to retain sole ownership over certain trade secrets as well as the hardware. During the firmware development phase, Softeq handled the tasks related to IoTHub communication and FOTA. The client’s team was responsible for developing the central part of the business logic, custom safety algorithms, and a hardware support package.
Softeq developed a web-portal for user data management.
The connected collar is currently on the market. The solution helps dog owners feel at ease, knowing that their pets have a lower risk of getting lost and being hit by cars. Should a dog with the connected collar get lost, owners will have no trouble finding them through real-time GPS tracking. Moreover, owners will be able to take their dogs on trips abroad—the device supports LTE data roaming in a special network for IoT devices from the mobile operator TNT. The collar also aids in the training process, which in turn helps reduce the number of dogs that are sent back to animal shelters after adoption.
The solution is cheaper and more flexible than other options on the market. It is much less expensive than traditional physical fences and in-ground wire fence systems. Additionally, it can be moved to any location at any time, providing endless configurations and adaptability.