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NFC Tags on Collars Identify Lost Pets

Skoubee developed a digital medal that can be read with a smartphone, making it easy to locate the owner of a missing dog or cat.
By Bob Violino
Tags: NFC
Aug 03, 2015

When a dog or cat runs off, his or her worried owner typically searches the neighborhood for the lost pet. If the pet isn't found immediately, the owner posts fliers with the animal's photo on utility poles and distributes them door to door, in hopes a stranger will find and return the beloved pet. The search can last days, weeks or months, during which time the pet may roam outside the neighborhood. But even if the lost animal remains within the dedicated search area, a stranger may not recognize and associate the stray with the photo on the sign.

Some dogs and cats have an embedded low-frequency RFID microchip that includes the animal's unique ID number, which is associated with the owner's information in a pet-recovery database. The tag is typically scanned only when a pet is turned into an animal shelter or a veterinarian's office.

Someone who finds a lost dog or cat can scan its tag, access the pet's public information on the Skoubee website and contact the owner.
Skoubee, a Swiss-based company, aims to make it easier to reunite lost pets with their owners. In October 2014, Skoubee introduced an ID medal that can be attached to a pet's collar. The medal has a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip on the front, and a Quick Response (QR) code on the back. Both can be read with an NFC-enabled smartphone or other mobile device, so the finder can access the pet's public information on the Skoubee website and contact the owner. In addition, the tag has a printed eight-digit personal identification number (PIN) that can be entered on the website.

Most people don't have access to a low-frequency RFID reader to scan an implanted microchip, says Skoubee CEO Laurent Schwarz, but increasingly, people don't go anywhere without their smartphones.

Pet owners who enroll in the Skoubee program pay 30 euros ($33) for an ID tag. Then, they can create a public and private online profile for their pets. If a pet gets lost, the owner can log on to the pet's profile and access the "lost pet" function, which will send an alert to other Skoubee members that the pet is lost.

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