Vodafone, a leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa, has announced a new technology using the Internet of Things for wildlife in Africa, to secure community safety, and livelihoods, and prevent human-wildlife conflict.

The firm revealed this on its website as it announced it was at the early stage of creating the new technology that would help people and wildlife to coexist peacefully.

It added that the artificial intelligence runs on a Raspberry Pi and the entire system is housed in a robust and weatherproof enclosure.

This, according to Vodafone, is aimed at promoting harmonious living.

It stated that using the Internet of Things in partnership with WWF, the solution would work 24 hours every week using a combination of solar power and rechargeable batteries.

“Three to four cameras will search the entire circumference of a given area, which is illuminated with infrared lights, to sense when an animal is approaching. Using a combination of deep learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and other computer vision algorithms, animals are detected and identified, triggering an appropriate deterrent such as flashing lights or a specific noise. Elephants, for example, are known to be deterred by the sound of a swarm of African bees.

“At the same time, IoT connectivity is used to send SMS alerts to the local community, and wider alerts and reports via our cloud server. These alerts contain information including the time, location and species identified as well as what deterrent was activated. Imagine having lions or tigers roaming the area around your house, place, or work. For some people, this is a reality – and it can lead to costly or even deadly consequences.

“In Kenya, for example, a wandering elephant or lion could lead to a complete loss of crops or livestock for smallholder farmers. Situations like these often lead to dangerous confrontations between humans and wildlife, which impact not only the safety and economy of communities in rural Africa but also the efforts to conserve many fragile species. We hope to find more ways of using technology to help address conservation and sustainability challenges,” the firm revealed.

According to Vodafone, human-wildlife conflict is when encounters between humans and wildlife lead to negative results for wildlife and people, such as loss of property, livelihoods or even life itself.

It explained that human-wildlife conflicts could occur wherever wildlife and human populations overlap and compete for resources.

The Project Co-lead and Senior Manager, Sustainability Strategy at Vodafone, Joe Griffin said that the UN’s Global Biodiversity Framework agreed upon in December 2022 included a target to minimise human-wildlife conflict for coexistence.

He added that the firm believed the new technology could help achieve that and bring positive change to the communities and animals facing these tough challenges.

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