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50 Fastest Growing Companies of the Year 2023

An expert delivering the world’s most innovative dog fence: SpotOn Fence


The idea

What started as a casual conversation about the endless applications for GPS technology between an irrigation company owner, frustrated by having to replace buried wire fences that broke during installation, and GPS-expert and entrepreneur  Ken Solinsky, became a business idea when Ken asked Sung Vivathana, now SpotOn’s VP of Engineering if GPS could replace wires to invent something better than the Invisible Fence®. So these dog owners and entrepreneurs, passionate about bringing technology companies back to the New England area, embarked on the quest to invent the world’s first GPS dog fence.

Over the following years they transformed this idea into reality, and SpotOn Fence was born.

SpotOn saw a market need for this technology, and a market size to match. The buried wire fencing market had remained stagnant for decades with little innovation, and by replacing something that had always been fixed and inflexible (wires and base stations) with GPS technology, SpotOn revolutionized the solution with a product that was flexible, portable, customizable, and just as effective—the world’s first truly wireless dog fence. At the time, no other pet tech product (or any product) could contain dogs using only GPS.

This ground-breaking invention brought a new paradigm to an industry that has used the same technology for over 40 years. Before SpotOn, the concept of keeping pets contained in a virtual/GPS fence didn’t exist, and there wasn’t a product that could keep a dog contained and let the owner know if it escaped. SpotOn is a solution that does both, plus its construction is tough enough to withstand the rough and tumble nature of a dog’s daily life.

SpotOn users can plot a fence in two convenient ways—walk a boundary while the app tracks the user’s movement or draw the boundaries in the app. Either method is accurate to within a few feet. SpotOn GPS Fence is designed to provide three alerts in sequence—a beep when approaching the boundary, a louder beep at the boundary, and a vibration and/or static correction when stepping over the line. Dogs are trained to understand the alerts and tones, allowing SpotOn users to use the product not only at home, but also when traveling or if they move.

What’s most convenient is the ability to save 20 unique fences on the app and set the collar to that specific fence within seconds. Imagine visiting a friend’s home or going to a new park without worrying about your dog running off? Even better is the customization within each fence. Want to create a fence within a fence? Creating “keep out” areas such as a pool or a driveway is easy. How about day and nighttime fences on the same property? SpotOn is the only product that allows for the duplication of GPS coordinates from fence to fence, so a dog’s range can be restricted at night and opened up to let him run longer during the day. Live tracking is another innovation. On the app, owners can see position updates every few seconds.

Before launching to the public, the pair tested the original concept in hundreds of locations to ensure that this new technology—the world’s first wireless GPS dog fence—worked consistently across all terrains and geographies. They shipped beta units to dog trainers nationwide to collect performance data and perfect the accompanying training program. The company also sourced and manufactured in the U.S., where possible, to create jobs, better control the supply chain, and be less dependent on offshore components.

Once the technology worked, SpotOn took extra steps to minimize unintended consequences and ensure that the product is reliable, as users trust SpotOn with their dogs’ lives. In repeated tests, alerts, tones, and corrections were consistently precise. This level of accuracy sets SpotOn apart and helps give confidence to dog owners new to GPS fence technology.

Upon perfecting the concept, SpotOn sold its first fence in January 2019. When SpotOn launched, other than building a fence, there were few containment options for consumers with properties over a few acres. SpotOn was a reliable option and more cost-effective than building a fence. “We want dogs to run free and be safe,” says Sung Vivathana, inventor and SpotOn vice president of engineering. “We worked with pro dog trainers. We wanted to ensure SpotOn was effective for owners and good for dogs.”

Many loyal customers have been with SpotOn since 2019, upgraded to its newest GPS fence, which launched in early 2022. SpotOn has been a game changer for them, and they have come to rely on SpotOn as part of their routine.

Fostering innovation

Raw GPS is inherently inaccurate. SpotOn’s GPS is more accurate than the GPS on smartphones.

SpotOn’s team achieved this by using a relatively large and dynamic antenna and inertial navigation micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) components, such as three-axis accelerometers, magnetometers, and gyroscopes, to provide additional movement information and correct for possible satellite position errors. This augmented GPS had never been used before in the consumer tech space—for comparison, most smartphones and watches use GPS only and non-active chip antennas for compact size.

SpotOn’s fences work off GPS alone; no Wi-Fi or cellular connection is required. Instead, SpotOn connects to a network of 128 satellites across four global satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou) to provide precise fence boundaries. SpotOn’s patented True Location™ technology leverages global GPS and best-in-class hardware for its antenna, mitigates GPS drift, and uses predictive technology to pinpoint the dog, giving the fence boundaries unbeatable accuracy.

SpotOn’s device is the first to have accuracy within 10 feet and update location every six seconds. With this accuracy, SpotOn allows for greater flexibility than any other fence.

Plus, it’s very easy to use!  Users can make a fence in minutes—wherever needed—even through water.

SpotOn’s Mission

SpotOn believes dogs are happiest when they run free. With a mission to make dog containment more flexible, reliable, and convenient—helping dogs live their best lives safely, free to roam within the boundaries we set, Sung Vivathana notes, “We strive to be disruptors through and through and continue to push the envelope of technology to develop products that improve the lives of our pets.”

Meet the leader behind the success of SpotOn Fence.

Sung Vivathana is Vice President of Engineering at SpotOn Fence, where he leads all technical aspects of engineering, product, and app development and invented GPS fencing technology itself. Sung has 20 years of experience designing mission-critical electro-optical systems for harsh environments in defense, telecommunications, and consumer industries. Sung’s experience developing highly complex electronic systems ranges from commercial power supplies to life-saving electronic equipment used by the U.S. military. His unique perspective of making precision devices that must perform in any and every circumstance drives the accuracy and reliability for which SpotOn GPS Fence is known.

Sung has a BSEE from Widener University and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire.

“Since GPS is available everywhere, you simply walk the boundary line or draw it on your phone. You can make the fence wherever you need it - even through water.”