John: Absolutely, that's a really good question. So, that goes to a lot of different things but let me kind of define the market, if you will, in three broad categories. And there's some ancillary categories as well. But you've got devices out there that are focused on location, meaning that they might have GPS associated with it, or some other type of communication device, but they're focused on, "Where is that animal?" You've got other ones that are focused on movement of the animal or behavioral-type features of that animal. Meaning that it's the same thing as your iPhone, you've got an accelerometer in there, they put an accelerometer in an ear tag, you can determine, "Is that animal moving? Is it lethargic? Is it staying in one place?"
Ryan: So, an activity tracker for that. Okay.
John: And the theory behind that is, once an animal is stationary for a certain period of time, it might be an indicator that animal is getting sick. So, you've got those type of behavioral-type of monitors that are out there. And then you have what I would term as “biometrics,” which is what we are. We're actually measuring something on that animal that's an actionable item immediately. I grew up in the cattle industry. I'm talking about ranchers. The partners that we have in FeverTags touch hundreds of thousands of cattle per year. So, we know the environment that we're talking about very well. We're not coming at this from a research standpoint or sitting in an office building somewhere. We're looking at it from where boots are on the ground.
And so, when you look at the locational aspect to it is that we know where our cattle are. You know, especially when they're in a feed yard. They're in pens, the pens are numbered, the cattle are numbered to the pen, the cattle are numbered to the animals. That's not a metric that really moves the needle for us. When you look at the movement of the animal, the difference between movement and biometrics is that once an animal is lethargic or you're noticing something visual with that animal going on, it's been sick for two or three days. So, the question is, "How do you intercept that at an early enough stage to have an actionable treatment – whatever that might be – that's going to have the most impact, the cheapest impact, and not affect the rest of the herd?" And that's the biometric side. You've got other ancillary issues in there, people that track animals with drones and do all types of monitoring.
Ryan: Yeah, I think you also have to infer a lot from the activity side when you track that, right? You don't know exactly what's wrong. This is kind of more of the way I relate this to conversations I've had with industrial companies. This is more of the predictive maintenance side of it and not waiting for something to break to figure out what's wrong with it.
John: Exactly. I’ll give you an example of that. If you're analyzing the movement or the environment of that animal and if you suspect something is wrong, what is the first thing that they do?
Ryan: Right, they're going to go check on them.
John: And they do it in a disturbed state. And what we're providing is an undisturbed monitoring, real-time monitoring of that animal in an undisturbed state.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely.
Nik: And on the technology side, location and movement are somewhat expensive to achieve, either in capital cost or in battery life. And they're not actually directly impacting the measurement and leading to an outcome. You know, location is great for theft but do you want to instrument 100% of your animals with the one that gets stolen? That becomes really tough. Whereas when you directly find that that has a disease and you've got 100% of your animals covered, you're preventing those other 100 animals because you can get it before it happens. So, it's all about kind of how economics works. And location and movement, more expensive devices that don't last very long that let you just kind of guess that maybe something's wrong, to your point.
Ryan: Yeah, and there's definitely pieces to the GPS side, like you mentioned, the technological challenges at times based on different environments, the cost element, like you said. And also the need for it, not everybody needs that. But when you're talking about biometrics, like, regardless of the environment they're in, there's a need there. Not everybody has a risk of theft or cattle kind of leaving where they are and needing to find out where they went. So, I totally get it, and thank you for sharing the differences there between the solutions. It makes a lot of sense for our audience.