1st April 2017
Dog walkers won’t have to get barking mad about poor WiFi coverage when taking their pet for a walk, thanks to a new internet-enabled dog lead created by Virgin Media.
Virgin Media’s WiFi Walkies dog lead has been designed to seamlessly connect dog owners to any free public WiFi network - from pavements to parks.
An antenna has been built into the lead to amplify the reach of any free WiFi service which is being transmitted from shops, cafés or other public buildings. Each time the lead is extended, it will be able to connect to a greater range of networks – a maximum of up to half a mile away.
It means dog owners can stay online without needing to dip into their mobile data allowance.
The device works via the Virgin Media WiFi app, which automatically syncs with the device and then connects mobiles or other devices to any free WiFi signal.
From Mastiffs to Maltese – a Smart dog lead for all breeds
WiFi Walkies was created by Virgin Media’s newly launched team - the Aerial-Frequency Online Output Lab (AF-OOL).
AF-OOL put the lead through its paces by walking dozens of dogs to check it universally works with any breed of dog - big or small.
In a series of tests, the team checked the device can reach and process WiFi signals at great distance without being interrupted by the frequency of a dog’s bark or the length of its fur.
It has been rigorously tested and proven to have no impact on a dog’s health or wellbeing.
WiFi Walkies is being trialled by dog owners in Barking, Greater London, and if successful, will be available from Virgin Media stores and via www.virginmedia.com/wifiwalkies, later this year.
AF-OOL’s lead scientist, Professor Richard Ruff, said:
“Dog owners will have WiFi coverage licked thanks to Virgin Media’s WiFi Walkies lead.
“We’ve taken the lead in creating a new pedigree of pet accessory, which will keep dog owners connected to the things they love, so they can seamlessly post, stream and even upload canine selfies without having to use their phone’s data allowance.
“With WiFi Walkies, it’s not only dogs that will have their day, their owners will too.”
About Virgin Media
Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.
The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. We’re expanding this through our £3bn Project Lightning programme, which will reach 17 million premises by the end of 2019.
Our interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones.
We launched the world’s first virtual mobile network, offering fantastic value and services. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.
Through Virgin Media Business, we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest speeds and tailor-made services.
Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries.
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