The world’s eyes are increasingly turned towards the safe-guarding of endangered species, climate change, sustainability, plastics, air and light pollution.
Yesterday was World Wildlife Day 2019; it takes place on March 3rd every year to raise awareness of endangered animals and plants, and ways to fight against wildlife crime. I am just as passionate about wildlife preservation as I am about technology and the Internet of Things.
I am also just as passionate about my birth country: Kenya, where so much is being put into wildlife preservation and the protection of endangered species. As we see the IoT needle move into areas like manufacturing, retail, transport and utilities, sectors like agriculture and conservation are now also being highlighted.
The preservation of African wildlife is without doubt becoming a global focal point, as we learn more about how poaching is becoming more sophisticated (not forgetting how the crime syndicates are able to hide as they exploit the network to so do their dirty work and profit handsomely).
The level of poaching in Africa is indiscriminate, whether it is elephant ivory, rhino horns (at $60,000 to $100,000 per kilogram), or leopard skins - you get the picture. We also know, thanks to recent visits to Ol Pejeta Game Sanctuary in Kenya, that it costs up to $10,000 per year to protect a single rhino. Imagine the costs of the rangers alone to guard these great animals on 24 x 7 basis.
Taking all these facts into consideration, the role of technology is - and can be increasingly - put to good use. Technology can help to securely provide better real-time data to help monitor, manage, and even predict outcomes of the next poaching strike. With vastly improved animal sensors technologies, low-cost long-range communication networks combined with IOT and analytics, we are at the stage where we can effectively deploy solutions to enable protection programs to capitalize.
What it takes is the combination of software, sensor technologies, LP-WAN networks and IT technology companies to come together and help game reserves implement solutions that ensure their limited “high-cost” resources can be put to work where and when it really matters.
Game reserves can capitalize on harvesting data that helps predict where and when the next attack will take place - by combing data points from animal movement patterns, for example. They can foretell a breach in a game reserve fence, the sudden acceleration of an animal, inclement weather and so on. What becomes even more critical is that this technology is almost invisible with no obvious signs of a sensor. For example, a sensor can be embedded into the horn of a rhino. And the communication network has to be able to work with very little infrastructure, while the IOT cloud brings live data to the ranger's mobile phone in the field - or in the park's “command and control center.”
The success of these programs comes not from a single company, but an ecosystem of co-operative teams to come together to work with the reserves on delivering and fine-tuning these solutions.
I am excited by the possibilities - and we at Software AG are excited - to participate on helping the fight to protect what is left of our precious wildlife.