IoT, drones could save rhinos from poaching in South Africa

IoT, drones could save rhinos from poaching in South Africa

IoT, drones could save rhinos from poaching in South Africa
IoT, drones could save rhinos from poaching in South Africa

Cisco and Dimension Data have joined forces in a bid to save the ailing rhino population in South Africa through innovative technology – including IoT.

Believed to be the first project of its kind, both companies are deploying a number of different technologies in an unnamed South African reserve to fight against crime.

The tech, which harnesses the power and potential of IoT, monitors and tracks individuals as they enter the gates of the reserve, right up until they leave.

Mass tech and information

In the first phase of the project, Dimension Data worked with Cisco in collecting various bits of information about the game rangers, security personnel, tech and control centre teams.

Following on from this, they created a secure Reserve Area Network (RAN) and installed Wi-Fi hotspots at key points around the reserve.

The second phase involves CCTV, drones sporting infrared cameras, thermal imaging, vehicle tracking IoT sensors and seismic IoT sensors on a secure intelligent network.

All of this technology is operated on the site as a managed service and utilises the cloud for data analytics and back up. The idea is that suspicious activities are recorded and stopped.

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Solution will be expanded

Bruce Watson, group executive at Dimension Data, wants this project to stop crime as it happens. In the future, he believes this solution will expand to other reserves in Africa.

He said: “The goal of our end-to-end technology solution is to proactively intervene and stop people entering the reserve illegally. Whether it’s cutting fences, being dropped onto the ground by helicopters, or simply driving in through the entrance gates.

“Over time, the solution will be replicated in other reserves in South Africa, Africa, and globally to not only protect rhino, but conserve other endangered species such as elephants, lions, pangolin, tigers in India and Asia, and even sea rays in the ocean.”

Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president of worldwide sales at Cisco, added: “We’re extremely proud to be a partner in the Connected Conservation efforts.

“Cisco and Dimension Data have applied their innovation to transformational cutting-edge technologies and have leveraged our synergies in the latest network, security, data centre, collaborative workspaces and hybrid cloud solutions. We hope the number of rhino will once again thrive in this protected game reserve.”

IoT and tech pivotal in saving endangered species

Michelle LaRue, a research associate at the University of Minnesota, is a firm believer in using technology to study and protect the lives of endangered species.

She told Internet of Business: “Using new technologies and methods is key to studying endangered species, absolutely. The ways in which we ask questions need to evolve as better technologies become available.

“We need to be certain we understand the capabilities of these technologies so we’re not comparing apples to oranges with regard to population status and trends of endangered species.

Highlighting her own work, she said: “I am going to be working on a citizen science project to determine the population trends of the Weddell seal in the Antarctic, and determine environmental factors that influence their populations.

“This has never been done before so knowing more specifically the effects of sea ice, for instance, will greatly enhance our ability to make conservation and management decisions in the Southern Ocean.”

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