Non-profit tech organisation Digital Catapult has announced it is working with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), keepers of London Zoo, to develop next-generation, IoT-enabled anti-poaching technology.
Through Digital Catapult, ZSL has engaged with UK-based technology companies to develop new components with a view to building a sensor and satellite network that conservationists will use to monitor wildlife and deal with poachers both on land and at sea in some of the world’s most remote national parks.
As part of the project, Digital Catapult has installed an LPWAN [low-power, wide area network] base station at ZSL’s headquarters at ZSL London Zoo. Here, prototypes will tested and validated.
This base station extends the UK capital’s growing LPWAN network, Things Connected, which is available for the UK’s tech entrepreneurs and developers to test IoT innovations in the real world.
Animals at risk
Poaching is one of the most serious issues facing wildlife worldwide. Up to 35,000 African elephants were killed by poachers last year, while black rhino and mountain gorilla populations continue to suffer, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.
Digital Catapult and ZSL believe that IoT technologies have the potential to play a key role in beating the poachers, by enabling sensors to communicate with each other reliably over long distances, using very little power.
These connected sensors will be able to detect human activity close to wildlife populations, raising real-time alerts for conservationists monitoring the area.
“We’re devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, and this LPWAN network will add an additional technological edge to our work,” said Sophie Maxwell, conservation technology lead at ZSL. “The Internet of Things has exciting potential to make wildlife conservation more efficient than ever before and we’re pleased to see Digital Catapult provide the support to make this happen.”
Things Connected, meanwhile, aims to establish the UK as a pioneer of LPWAN technology, with the instalment of some 50 base stations across London. This network, claims Digital Catapult, will offer a free testbed to organizations developing IoT solutions, streamlining prototyping and enabling them to bring products and services to market faster.
“Connectivity is critical today – for tackling threats such as poaching, but also for developing next-generation solutions across sectors. The greater connectivity provided by this base station deployment will aid other organizations that want to bring IoT solutions to market, enabling the UK to further capitalize on a multi-billion-pound industry,” said Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult.