Where Old World Tradition Meets New-World Technology




Triumph from Tragedy
On the early morning of August 25, 2013, Jeffrey Schab and his partner, Wade Giles, received a phone call from their horse trainer who said in a somber tone, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but Snoop is gone.” Snoop, an 8-year-old American saddlebred horse, died alone in his stall overnight from colic—the leading natural cause of death in horses—because no one knew he was in trouble. It’s the phone call no horse owner or pet parent ever wants to receive, but it’s the phone call that put Jeffrey’s life on a new trajectory.


Trifecta = Equestrian. Engineer. Entrepreneur.
As an accomplished equestrian and biomedical engineer, Jeffrey was devastated by the loss of Snoop and frustrated with the status quo of the equine industry, so he formed Protequus®, a biomedical engineering firm, just 17 days following Snoop’s death, to create a solution that can alert caretakers to early signs of colic distress in horses. Today, that solution is the NIGHTWATCH® smart halter™, a predictive-health wearable that a senior contributor at Forbes described as “the most sophisticated animal IoT device I have ever researched and one of the most sophisticated IoT device[s] I have ever seen.”

Secret Sauce
The NIGHTWATCH® smart halter™ is unique among wearable devices, including those for humans, because of its proprietary artificial intelligence stack that can predict and quantify distress in animals based on measurable deviation from their normal physiologic parameters (biometrics and behavior, for example). The development of the technology took many years, a research initiative at Rochester Institute of Technology, and a team of passionate engineers, equestrians, and advisers in New York and his hometown of Austin, Texas, where Jeffrey could leverage the rapidly expanding ecosystem of entrepreneurs, technologists, and innovators.

It’s remarkable to realize that all of this analysis is done at the point of care by just 2.7 ounces of technology embedded in an all-natural leather, breakaway halter designed by sixth-generation master craftsmen at Freedman’s in Toronto, Canada. Not only lightweight, safe, and comfortable, each smart halter™ works across cellular and Wi-Fi networks, offers GPS/geolocation services, harnesses the power of ultrawideband impulse radar and a nine-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), and adapts to each horse over time to maximize precision and benefit.

Access to objective insight, including a horse’s Equine Distress Index® (EDI®) score, is available 24/7 from the NIGHTWATCH® app (for both iOS and Android).


Removing the Guesswork
The EDI® is a proprietary 10-point scale that removes the guesswork of understanding a horse’s well-being; the lower a horse’s EDI® score, the happier and healthier the horse. An EDI® score is an objective measure of a horse’s relative distress and general well-being at any point in time using a fuzzy inference system with multiple parameters, including biometric data, behavioral inputs, and precondition factors.

The NIGHTWATCH® smart halter™ is an essential tool for horse owners and veterinarians alike. The simplicity of automated alerts allows owners or trainers to intervene early when the horse is in distress (e.g., from colic, foaling, or being cast). Veterinarians can rely on real-time, noninvasive monitoring of the animal’s heart rate, respiration, and activity (e.g., novel event duration, frequency, and count) to make more-informed decisions in the clinic and when evaluating suspect cases in the field.

Looking Ahead
Fast-forward from that early morning phone call in August of 2013 and you will find a close-knit team at Protequus® working each day to protect valuable animal assets through data science and predictive analytics. While focused on horses today, the team at Protequus® has plans to expand its patented IP/technology horizontally across animal species from companion to production animals, while vertically integrating and enriching its proprietary data through a business-to-business prescriptive analytics SaaS platform that will connect insurance and life science companies, veterinarians, and governing bodies.

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