March 25, 2006 For the last 50 years, invention has been largely the domain of the corporation, which had the oomph to take a good idea through the time- and money consuming journey to market. But as the internet has connected the minds of a billion people, it’s becoming clear that no matter how good your product development team, it’s no match for the collective intelligence of the world’s population. With this in mind, the inaugural IdeaFetch pet product invention contest was created with ideas and voting all done online. Yesterday the winners were unveiled at the American Pet Product Manufacturer's Association (APPMA) Global Pet Expo and the winning pet inventions included a number of rippers. The outright winner, the MicroID Collar, will be available later this year as part of the winner’s prize and places an electronic journal on a pet's collar to store pet and owner data including name, address, phone number, vet visits, medications, etc. Other commercially viable ideas amongst the top 10 votegetters included a “Pet Fire Alert Collar” to help firefighters locate hiding pets in a house fire, a “Pet Fire Escape” for pets to escape from a house fire, a “collar-activated pet dish” that only opens to your pet, a “solar-powered doghouse blanket” for pets in cold climates and our favourite, “Hotel Kitty for the pussycat on the go.” Designed to enable your cat to travel with you, Hotel Kitty is an all-in-one cat carrier with all mod cons such as a litter tray, travel dishes and compartments for food, small toys, etc. Given that more than 50% of homes in most countries have a cat or dog, don’t underestimate the size of the market, or the potential to use the internet to further your product development efforts.
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