Smart collars, designed via a global engineering challenge, will protect Africa’s dwindling elephant population, powered by advanced telemetry dashboards and machine learning models

PHOENIX, Ariz. –  In response to a growing crisis facing Africa’s diminishing elephant population, two technology leaders are coming together with leading technology and conservation partners to build the world’s most advanced tracker to protect elephants in their natural habitats., an Avnet community, and Smart Parks, a visionary provider of advanced sensor solutions to conserve endangered wildlife, will collaborate on the development of a next generation tracking collar, supported by a new design challenge called ElephantEdge.


“Elephants are the gardeners of the ecosystems as their roaming in itself creates space for other species to thrive,” said Tim van Dam, Smart Parks co-founder. “Our ElephantEdge project brings in people from all over the world to create the best technology that is vital for the survival of these gentle giants. Every day they are threatened by habitat destruction and poaching. Better sensors allow us to get more insight in their behavior so we can improve protection.”

The ElephantEdge Challenge will focus on building the software that will run on the newly built hardware, including learning models and telemetry dashboards – which will provide useful tracking, health vitals, motion, environmental anomalies, and more. Together, the new collar will sport better battery life, longer range, and better accuracy than existing solutions, by leveraging Avnet’s IoTConnect Platform and Edge Impulse machine learning technology, plus hardware and software from Western Digital, Nordic Semiconductors, Taoglas, u-blox, Vulcan EarthRanger and Microsoft.elephantcollarpayload-light-primary_af59ZEnObs.jpg

Challenge participants will receive free access to products and technology to aid in the creation of solutions. All solutions with be open source on to enable future scaling. As a close advisor on solutions for wildlife protection, World Wildlife Fund will work with the development team and test early prototypes. The final prototype will result in 10 elephant collars that Smart Parks will deploy in selected African parks

“Through the ElephantEdge challenge, we are coming together as technology leaders to provide a much-needed solution to protect elephants whose habitats are under pressure, with poachers and trophy hunters causing additional, irreversible harm,” said Adam Benzion, co-founder of “We are proud to support this project with Smart Parks and our partners, resulting in an open-source solution that will do good in the world.”

Sarah Maston, Solution Architect, Founder of Project 15 from Microsoft said, “ElephantEdge is an example of collaborating in using the best that technology has to offer to conserve and reverse the devastating loss of elephants from our world. With the creativity of the community, the expertise of the Microsoft Azure IoT partner ecosystem, the innovation of the Avnet IoTConnect Platform, and the power of open source software, we have a chance to save one of the most iconic animals and preserve our planet’s biodiversity.”

For more information on the ElephantEdge Challenge participants can visit

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