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Our approach

The research project combines different scientific perspectives: human-animal-computer interaction, customer experience and user studies, monitoring technology, veterinary sciences, psychology and business understanding. Pet businesses and associations support and guide the research with their own insight and expertise.


Through our research, we will:

  • improve understanding of the customer experience and user needs in dog technology and digital services
  • generate validated results on the impacts of dog technology use
  • suggest improvements in dog monitoring technology
  • identify scenarios for future digital services for dog families
  • organise events that support company cooperation and ecosystem building
  • produce scientific publications and executive summaries

For dog owners, our approach will provide a means to understand their dog better and services that support their interaction and everyday life with their furry friends.

For pet businesses, our project provides research-based evidence to support business growth around dog technology. Companies can utilise our results in developing their own smart products and services for dog families.

Project Plan

The work is implemented in four work packages (WP).

WP 1 ensures the constant presence of the customer perspective throughout the research. We build customer understanding both through a quantitative web survey and through a wide variety of qualitative methods.

WP 2 concentrates on developing dog-monitoring technology. We focus in particular on validating the impacts of monitoring and making the data interpretations smarter. The work includes, for example, prototype implementation, experimental settings, and human-computer interaction research.

WP 3 develops the prerequisites for smarter digital services for dog owners. We study the service combinations valued by users, the requirements of the platform system and networked business model, and connections to the work of vets.

WP 4 concentrates on knowledge sharing and networking. We organise networking events and publish results for different purposes for a wide‑ranging audience – from the scientific community to business representatives and ordinary dog owners.

The Buddy and the Smiths team

The CIRCMI research team (Research on Information, Customer, and Innovation Management) based at the University of Tampere specialises in research on business development, ICT, customer experience and service business. The team is responsible for coordination and company cooperation, and for translating the results into the language of companies. CIRCMI is led by Prof. Mikko Ruohonen, and the project researchers are Mari Ainasoja, Sanna Rytövuori and Elina Vulli. The picture introduces the special advisor of the CIRCMI team, Rally-toko specialist Pyry.
The ESC research team (Research Group for Emotions, Sociality, and Computing) based at the University of Tampere has expertise in emotion, cognition, and human-human and human-computer interaction research. The team is responsible for the experimental and evaluative research of the project. ESC is led by Prof. Veikko Surakka, and the project researchers are Poika Isokoski, Päivi Majaranta, Heli Väätäjä and Julia Kuosmanen. The picture introduces the special advisor of the ESC team, Viivi ‘Vivaldi’ Lipoveri, who monitors the project from a retired domestic dog’s perspective.
The STB research team (Research Group of Sensor Technology and Biomeasurements) based at Tampere University of Technology has expertise in sensors, embedded and wireless monitoring systems, sensor signal processing and data analysis. The team is responsible for developing monitoring solutions for the research pilots. STB is led by Prof. Jukka Lekkala, and the project researchers are Antti Vehkaoja, Jarmo Verho, Vala Jeyhani, Pekka Kumpulainen and Juhani Virtanen. The picture introduces Nemo, the special advisor of the STB team, who is eager to develop technology that supports his passion for fetching the ball.
The dog cognition group based at the Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki ensures that the research is in line with latest knowledge in canine cognition, and that the perspective of dog well‑being is taken into account. The dog cognition group is led by Prof. Outi Vainio, and the project researchers are Miiamaaria Kujala, Sanni Somppi, Heini Törnqvist and Anna Valldeoriola. The picture introduces two special advisors of the Helsinki team, Riemu and Srela, who used to have multiple hobbies in their youth, such as dog dance, obedience, and search and rescue.

The project uses a co-creation approach and works in close cooperation with companies and other actors in the pet industry. You can find our supporting organisations on our Homepage and our wider network here.

International collaboration

We collaborate with three top scientific experts:

  • Oskar Juhlin (Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden) is one of the leading founders of animal-computer interaction research.
  • Jozsef Topal (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary) is one of the founders of the first canine science group to publish in very high impact journals.
  • Steffen Leonhardt (RWTH Aachen University, Germany) is the head of the MedIT research laboratory, a pioneer in the area of unobtrusive technologies for non-contact physiological monitoring.