How to Make a Pet Monitoring App?

Since the beginning of human civilization, human beings have had close relationships with animals. Domesticated animals such as dogs return this love unconditionally. This is why so many people own pets. With modern life placing heavy demands on our time, we often need to leave our pets alone at home.

We may be at work or traveling on business, however, that doesn’t reduce our need to make sure they are ok while we are away. Love often gives rise to worry about whether they are eating well or whether they are safe. Modern technologies help us, and pet monitoring apps come as boons for the pet-lovers.

A Pet Product News article quotes the statistics portal Statista in this regard. It states that the sales of wearable pet technology will likely reach US $ 900 million by 2022. That will still represent a minor portion of the pet products market hence, the growth opportunity is massive. Read more about this statistics in “How pet tech will impact the future of the pet market”.

If you are an entrepreneur, you can make a mark in this growing market. I will explain how to make a pet monitoring app in this article.

Contents

Pet monitoring app features
Examples of pet monitoring apps
The approach to developing a pet monitoring app
SDK/API options for pet monitoring app development
Important tools for a pet monitoring app development project
Managing the mobile backend of the pet monitoring app
The project management approach
The cost of developing a pet monitoring app

Pet monitoring app features

What features should a good pet monitoring app have? Consider offering the following features in your app:

  • Users of the app should be able to turn two devices into pet monitors and receivers. This might mean that you will need to use technologies like sensors, GPS, RFID tags, live streaming, etc.
  • The app should allow users to pre-record a few common instructions for the pet.
  • Alert mechanisms when the pet dog barks can be helpful. For e.g., if the phone vibrates when the pet barks, that will easily alert you.
  • The app should enable you to locate your wandering pet. Pet owners need to use GPS collars for their pets, subsequently, the app should communicate with it so that they can track down their pet.
  • Good pet monitoring apps should be available on common platforms like Android and iOS.
  • Simple user interface (UI) is important.
  • The app should alert you about the battery status of the pet device. You should ideally have some options to automatically start charging of the pet device.
  • Users should have the push notification feature in the app.

Additionally, consider including the following features in the app:

  • Many food items can be harmful to your pet. Many substances are also harmful if your pet nibbles it. The app should ideally contain a list of such substances so that you can be careful to keep those away from your pet.
  • The app should also contain information about symptoms of common diseases that affect our pets.

Read more about these features in “Five apps every pet owners must have”.

Examples of pet monitoring apps

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You can get good design ideas by reviewing the following popular pet monitoring apps:

Dog Monitor App

The “Dog Monitor” app is available on Android, iOS, and several other platforms. This app offers the following features:

  • Live HD streaming videos;
  • Activity log;
  • An ability to record remote commands;
  • Multi-person support;
  • An ability to talk to the pet;
  • Push notifications;
  • Alerts when the pet dog barks;
  • Security and reliable service.

It‘s a paid app.

Pet Monitor App

Pet Monitor App is a paid app, furthermore, it‘s available on iOS only. It has the following features:

  • Users can get alerts.
  • Two-way audio and video communication are possible with the pet.
  • The app allows users to record video or take pictures.
  • There is an automated activity log hence you can analyze the pets‘ past behavior.
  • Users can customize the settings for alerts.
  • The app offers high-quality video streaming.
  • It‘s a secure and easy-to-use app.

Annie Pet Monitor

Annie Pet Monitor is a free app, additionally, it‘s available on both Android and iOS. Users get the following features:

  • The app supports multiple pets and owners.
  • You can monitor your pet from anywhere, the only requirement is a mobile Internet connection.
  • The app offers high-quality live video streaming.
  • It works with Apple Watch.
  • This app uses encrypted communication for security.
  • Alerts about battery status on the pet device is another useful feature.
  • Users can talk to their pet using the microphone.
  • The app offers an activity log.
  • Its‘ simple UI is a definite advantage.
  • This app incorporates push notifications.

The approach to developing a pet monitoring app

A project to develop a pet monitoring app is an involved development project. I recommend the following approach for it:

  1. Design the mobile app front-end and develop it. The UI/UX designers need to be well-versed with mobile navigation menu examples.
  2. Use ’Software Development Kits‘ (SDKs) and ’Application Programming Interfaces‘ (APIs) to address several common pet monitoring app functionalities. This will expedite the development and I will describe a few SDK/API options in this guide.
  3. Use a ’Mobile Backend as a Service‘ (MBaaS) provider to manage the backend. This will expedite the project, and I will explain it in detail shortly.
  4. As you know from using mobile apps, they undergo frequent changes. You need to first launch a ’Minimum Viable Product‘ (MVP). This should be a functional app. You can get market feedback after launching this MVP, subsequently, you can add more features based on the market response. You need to have an iterative development approach for this. Agile development is the right approach for this kind of iterative development. You need to structure your team accordingly hence, consult our guide “How to build an Agile development team?”.

SDK/API options for pet monitoring app development

Below are a few SDK/API options to create a pet monitoring app. You may need to use a combination of these in your project to develop a pet monitoring app.

Option #1: Wowza GoCoder SDK and Wowza streaming cloud

An important component of the pet monitoring app is the live streaming. Wowza media systems offer their “GoCoder SDK” and “Wowza Streaming Cloud” platform for this.

With the GoCoder SDK, you can develop a streaming app for Android and iOS. This enables you to incorporate professional-grade live streams. This can be live and on-demand. Other advantages are as follows:

  • The app can incorporate ultra-HD video streaming.
  • Configurable network ’Bitrate‘ allows optimal video streaming experience for users depending on the network bandwidth.
  • Low-latency, mobile playback, etc. are some of the other advantages.

Access the SDK documentation here. The SDK is free however, it comes bundled with ’Wowza Streaming Cloud‘, which is the online video streaming platform. This is a performant cloud solution. You can read more about the ’Wowza Streaming Cloud‘ here.

If you use the Wowza platform then you don’t need to buy an MBaaS separately. Check out their pricing plans on their pricing page. We will now review APIs for other core pet monitoring app functionalities.

Option #2: Sinch SDKs and APIs

Sinch, i.e., the mobile voice, videos, and verification platform company provides a set of SDKs and APIs. You can build a pet monitoring app with this. You can build both Android and iOS apps, and you can sign-up for the SDKs here.

Sinch offers extensive documentation for their SDKs and APIs. You can access their documentation here. To download their SDKs, access their ’downloads‘ page.

Read How We Helped a Marketing Company to Build a Back-Office Custom Ads Dashboard

The company has published a blog post detailing how developers can create a pet monitoring app using their SDKs. This is in their tutorials section, and you can access it here. You can find their pricing plans here, however, you need to get a separate MBaaS provider for your mobile backend.

Option #3: ThinkRace GPS Pet Tracker devices and APIs

ThinkRace is a GPS tracker device manufacturer that also offers open APIs for their products. They have a GPS product suite called GPS Pet Tracker PT590. It‘s designed for tracking dogs and cats to ensure their safety. You can build a pet monitoring app using this product and their APIs.

You can include the following features in your app:

  • Real-time GPS tracking;
  • One-touch SOS button;
  • Advanced 2-mode positioning;
  • Voice monitoring capability.

Contact them via their website to set up a partnership with them. This way, your app can incorporate their GPS tracker, their APIs, and your app-specific code for a complete pet monitoring app. You can access their open APIs here. Access their API documentation here. You need to get their pricing plans as part of your partnership discussion with the company.

Important tools for a pet monitoring app development project

To effectively execute your project for developing a pet monitoring app, I recommend the following tools:

You also need to know how to publish your mobile app in ’Google Play‘ and ’Apple App Store‘. There are guidelines for it. Check here, and here, respectively.

Managing the mobile backend of the pet monitoring app

If you take the Wowza option, then you don‘t need to buy a separate MBaaS. In other options, you need to choose an MBaaS provider. Although you can code the entire mobile backend, arrange the infrastructure, provision the database, and manage all of these, I don‘t recommend that. The reason is that it‘s time-consuming, additionally, the project becomes more complex.

MBaaS providers address several aspects to make your development faster, as follows:

  • Infrastructure management;
  • Database provisioning;
  • Persistent storage;
  • User management and user authentication;
  • Integration with APIs;
  • Scaling;

There are several reputed MBaaS providers, for e.g., AWS Mobile, Google Firebase, Kinvey, SashiDo, and Kumolos. You can check our MBaaS comparison guide “How to choose the best mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)?” for more details.

The pet monitoring app development project team

For this project, you need to onboard a team with the following skills:

  • Business analysts;
  • UI/UX designers;
  • Android and iOS developers;
  • Testers;
  • A project manager (PM).

Since I recommend using an MBaaS provider, I don‘t suggest you onboard any mobile backend developer.

The PM should be conversant with project management best practices. You can consult our guide “Project management: 10 best practices“. Although I recommend that you onboard a co-located team, sometimes it may not be possible. You may need to work with a remote team at times hence, the PM should know how to manage a remote team. Consult our guide “10 essential tips to managing remote employees” for more details.

The project management approach

’Scrum‘ is a good Agile technique, which is eminently suitable for iterative development. I recommend this technique for this Agile project. Here, you need to build a small and compact cross-functional team, i.e., the team should include designers, developers, testers, and business analysts. The PM should function as the ’Scrum master‘.

A ’Product owner‘ (PO) provides the requirements or features, and these are documented in the ’Product backlog‘. The project is divided into multiple iterations, which are called ’Sprints‘. For each sprint, the features from the product backlog are prioritized. However, the scrum team should first estimate the features, so that effective planning of sprints can take place.

Once a sprint is planned, the cross-functional scrum team gets to work. The team conducts a ’Daily stand-up meeting‘ to discuss the project status. The scrum master should gather the issues faced by the team and resolve them.

At the end of a sprint, the project stakeholders review the product. The features must be demonstrably ready by then. Project stakeholders approve the features provided they meet the requirements in a meeting called the ’Sprint review meeting‘.

The scrum team also conducts a ’Sprint retrospective meeting‘ after the sprint ends. This is a lessons-learned exercise. Read more about the scrum technique in our guide “How to build a scrum development team?”.

I suggest you use a good project management tool. Trello is a good option, however, if you want to review other options, then you can check our guide “The 10 best Agile project management tools in 2018”.

The cost of developing a pet monitoring app

Among the cost components of this project, a few are easy to estimate, for e.g., the SDK/API, and the MBaaS provision. These providers either publish their price on their website, alternatively, you need to contact them to get their pricing plans.

The development-manpower cost will depend on the complexity of the app and the local labor market. This is a project that requires end-to-end project management. If you need professional help, consult our guide “How to find the best software development company?”.

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Aran Davies

Blockchain Expert | Developer | Writer | Photographer
Aran Davies

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