STEED: One Device, Multiple Solutions
VIENNA, AUSTRIA and BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - When Alan Wielunski stepped into the wonderful world of horses it was his young sons who got him hooked. “My connection with horses started 20 years ago when both my sons started riding,” recalled Alan. At first it was a hobby and passion for them but then gradually the whole family became obsessed. This obsession led to a successful sport horse business they own in the south of Holland called EMW Sport Horses.
Now Alan is busy with a new obsession and it’s on developing and bringing to market a horse tech product called Steed. Soon to be the first autonomous biometric wearable it is designed to monitor a horses' welfare 24x7 and that instantly alerts the owner and/or vet at the first sign of distress. “It will target the top three life threatening issues such as colic, casting and foaling, and progressively, we will add a "whole shopping" list of diseases and disorders,” said Alan. This list will be determined and prioritized by Co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Orsi Kutasi.
A Wearable with More
As the world’s first autonomous biometric wearable for horses its patented design eliminates the need for a halter or collar to attach the device on a horse. The ability to monitor horse wellness in real-time will reduce health issues that are hard to monitor and will provide a comprehensive horse health assessment or in large stables it can monitor single or multiple horses wearing Steed’s device. All of this can be managed by the Steed app. This leads to data being processed in real-time and can be accessed by the owner or vet via their personalized dashboard on the app. The emergency alerts are triggered in case of life-threatening conditions like colic via phone, SMS, email etc. Detailed medical log is sent via the email and available on the mobile app. The product also incorporates machine learning designed for development of Big Data and AI tools that can predict the onset on life-threatening disorders and diseases.
Four Elements that make Steed a Complete Solution
There are four key elements that makes up the Steed solution. “The wearable biometric device continuously measures the horse’s vital signs,” points out Alan. The small device is optimally positioned on the horse, enclosed in a specially designed case operated with a non-invasive attachment and removal mechanism.
“The device is automatically activated by the embedded RFID chip located in horse’s neck. The beauty of this waterproof device is it may be small, but it is the brains behind the product as it contains the accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometric pressure, ambient temperature and skin temperature sensor, heart rate monitor and GPS, GSM data communication,” Alan added.
A very important feature is the encrypted data communication using enterprise grade AES 128. The device can analyze the data on-the-fly for specific early signs of life-threatening disorders such as colic. “What’s even more unique is there is a self-learning algorithm applied that adapts to the specifics of each horse and breed,” cited Alan.
The device will work out of the box in Europe, US and the Gulf States area and will not require any setup tasks by the owners.
The second key element is the charging mat that provides wireless charging capabilities for up to 5 devices at a time. In addition, the device supports wireless charging, a color-coded display and long battery life.
The mobile app is the third element that is the conduit to the valuable horse health data and emergency alerts for the horse owners or veterinarians. The app provides all the necessary information a horse owner or a vet needs including an owners’ dashboard, vet dashboard, stable management, emergency alerts (customizable feature will send alerts at the first sign of distress via phone, SMS, email etc.), reminders (for next vaccination, deworming etc.), horse profile and life history (name, age, gender, breed and medical history with option to upload pictures and medical files/history).
The fourth and behind the scenes element is the cloud-based data server: this is essential for providing long term statistics and predictions on horse welfare. Cloud based data store will make it easier to compile and analyze horse health statistics and a host of reports (i.e. Individual horse reports or consolidated herd activity reports).
Where to put the Wearable?
“The patented device clamps on the horses' mane just below the poll position on the smooth side of the neck and is stabilized to fit the curvature of the neck by two flexible arms that are hidden from view by the mane,” described Alan. The clamping mechanism is detachable in the case that the owner wants to attach the device on a halter or head band.
The on-board RFID reader pairs the device with the unique ID chip embedded in the horses' neck/upper lip. This protects the horse from being stolen if the device is forcibly removed by sending an alert to the owner, if it falls for any reason and also to ensure that the right device is attached on the right horse after charging.
Word About Town
“We’ve received extremely favorable feedback on the product, and specifically, our unique clamping mechanism for the device, which does not require a halter or collar to attach the device on the horse,” said Alan. Testing and validation are done in partner stables and veterinary schools in Holland, Hungary and Austria.
Timeline for Launch
“I hope to launch Steed within 12 months’ time, subject to funding, and following extensive testing and validation by our partners, so essential for such a product.” This revolutionary product can be used on any horse/discipline, whether general wellness monitoring, or development of performance analytics and training programs, stable management or more.
The price point is driven by the customers' perceived value of the product. The price of the device will range from $350 for the Steed Light version and up to $750 or euro. There will be a price per month maintenance fee of $25-$30. They will also offer a scalable pricing structure for multiple horses.
The Connected Horse
“The Internet of horses is transforming from something we navigate into something that connects things. For equestrians, that equals a whole new way to track their horse’s wellness,” stressed Alan. Imagine your mobile phone or Apple Watch alerting you that your horse is colicing, casting or foaling. The horse’s activity tracker on your app shows that your horse isn’t acting normally and perhaps it is due to dehydration, loss of appetite or lack of sleep, etc.
The Equine Industry Evolution
“We live in exciting times,” said Alan. “Technology is coming to aid our horses and provide invaluable reassurance to owners and vets,” he added. With a seamless collection of highly accurate data from our horses it is evolving the reactive design of today’s equine industry model into a preventative model of care. This evolution can only be achieved over time with the support of industry, veterinary community and equine welfare organizations. “I believe that companies that want to succeed and gain traction in this space, must learn to ‘share the wealth’ by forming strategic partnerships,” Alan explained.
Steed’s First Stop
Steed’s first appearance at a trade show is going to be at the HorseTech Conference, May 22-25, 2019, Dublin, Ireland. In addition, Co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Orsi Kutasi, has been invited to speak at the ACVIM Congress in Phoenix, AZ, June 2019. This is the world's biggest event for the veterinary internal medicine community. She will be presenting the findings and unique testing methodology Steed developed and which will be patented shortly, of the use of sensor technology to detect motion patterns associated with colic.