In Japan, where the birthrate continues to decline, the number of pets
exceeds the number of children. As of April 1, 2021, there were 14.93
million children under the age of 15, but the total number of dogs and
cats kept in 2021 was much higher at 16.05 million.

With the increase in telecommuting and suburban migration due to the
Corona pandemic, the demand for pets has skyrocketed. Pet tech, a new
service that utilizes digital technology to help pets live comfortably
as members of the family, is attracting attention.
Japan’s pet tech market is expected to grow from USD 82.1 billion in FY
2018 to USD 603.6 billion in FY 2023, with a CAGR of 47%.

In Japan, IT-based pet tech products started to appear around 2016, with
not only startups but also major electronics manufacturers and pet
industry giants entering the market. Recently, a variety of cutting-edge
technologies have been utilized, such as IoT technology that uses radio
waves and GPS to locate pets with microchips if they go missing;
technology that uses AI deep learning to analyze images of monitored
pets; technology that uses facial recognition to identify individual
pets; and technology that uses sensors to collect and analyze vital data
such as pet weight and urinary frequency and volume to help manage

What I found interesting is "waneco talk" or a service for LINE, a
communication application, that utilizes NEC's cutting-edge AI
technology. A sensor attached to the pet's collar records data on the
pet's activity, which is then analyzed by AI in seconds and converted
into messages. When an owner who is far away from his pet sends a
message on his smartphone to LINE saying, "What are you doing?", the pet
will reply, "I'm relaxing." or "I'm moving around right now.”. This
service allows owners to experience as if they were exchanging messages
with their pets on LINE. Owners can see how their pets are doing through
the messages, and gain a sense of security or notice unusual changes in
their pets. 

Various pet-friendly IT products and services have been introduced in
this way, but my dog was not friendly to IT equipment as he gnawed on a
LAN cable adapter the other day.

Hiroko KAWABATA(Ms.)

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