Conservation organisations ShadowView and The Internet of Life announce the launch of the world’s first Smart Park, a state of the art sensor network that provides new solutions for on the ground practitioners to better protect wildlife and improve overall protected area management.
Trialed with African Parks, a conservation organization that manages protected areas across Africa on behalf of governments, the technology has been implemented and tested over the past six months in Akagera National Park in Rwanda. The 1122 km2 park is covered with a private LoRaWAN communication network to collect data from various sensors. Currently these sensors track the location of park rangers, vehicles, utilities and anyone entering the park boundary, therefore helping to better protect both humans and people alike.
“This new technology is limitless, simplified and cost effective. Its application in Akagera National Park has significantly improved the logistical management of vehicle fleets, staff in the field and given a better live picture of the on goings in the park from a distance”, said Jes Gruner, Akagera’s Park Manager. “The most exciting aspect of this is the improved security this system adds for key species of wildlife and the growing tourism numbers. This is potentially a game-changing application for conservation efforts in Africa.”
The sensor data are presented in an easy to use web application from within the Park Control room. The locations of the trackers are updated in real time. Together with all the other data that are being collected from the area such as elephant and lion movements, it provides park managers and rangers with more insights about everything that is happing across vast and previously hard to manage areas in real time. Also referred to as ‘real time situational awareness, this is a critical component of effectively protecting wildlife against a myriad of modern-day threats.
ShadowView and the The Internet of Life will continue to expand the solution at Akagera National Park by adding new applications such as animal trackers, improved fence monitoring, connected camera-traps and the tracking of equipment.
What makes the ‘Smart Park’ solution unique?
- Smart Park is highly secure due to multiple security layers;
- It runs 100% on solar power, including the sensors;
- The system has run with no major downtime for a six month period;
- Compared to sending SMS (0.02 USD per SMS message) the Smart Park solution saves over 500.000 USD per year with only 100 sensors deployed;
- The communication infrastructure provides a high-speed backbone for future solutions like sending live video streams from security cameras to manage threats in real time;
- Smart Park network runs locally and does not require any Internet connection to function, which is often a major limitation for technology in vast, wild areas across Africa and the globe.