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Kenya pioneers Africa’s largest conservation IoT network

By , ITWeb
Kenya , 26 Jun 2023
The Trust says wildlife protection is an ideal use case for LPWAN IoT, given the vast territories to monitor.
The Trust says wildlife protection is an ideal use case for LPWAN IoT, given the vast territories to monitor.

]Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and Connected Conservation have launched Africa’s largest landscape-wide Internet of Things (IoT) conservation network, in Kenya, to safeguard vulnerable species and natural resources.

NRT's IoT conservation network is the first of its kind in Kenya and was made possible by Connected Conservation Foundation (CCF), bringing together a coalition of private and public sector partners, including NRT, Cisco, Actility, and 51 Degrees with EarthRanger.

NRT said the project leverages LoRaWAN IoT sensors and networks to collect, monitor and analyse real-time environmental data.

It said: “This data is coupled with analytics and conservation tools to help safeguard wildlife populations, promote peace, and empower community-led conservation.”

According to NRT, LoRaWAN IoT technology has emerged as a game-changing solution for natural reserves that require robust signal coverage over vast and hostile environments, which often have zero connectivity.

“This, now widely used, conservation technology allows battery-powered sensors to communicate via a long-range, ultra-low data rate connection, resulting in longer battery life. Additionally, LoRa sensors are a fraction of the cost compared to satellite-enabled solutions – transforming the way conservation programmes operate,” said NRT.

The IoT network currently covers 22 of NRT’s community-led conservancies and four private reserves, (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Ol Jogi, Loisaba and Borana) with plans to bring more on board to increase coverage across the region.

Over 190 new sensors have been deployed to all parks, with a further 250 scheduled.

NRT CEO, Tom Lalampaa, said: “We can now monitor our conservancies on a scale that was never possible. It is empowering our community-led conservancies to share, make decisions and collaborate in their conservation efforts.”

“This cross-conservancy, IoT conservation network is changing the way private and community-led conservancies work together. Shared real-time information for large connected landscapes is helping secure threatened species, manage essential ecosystem services and benefit local communities,” said Sophie Maxwell, executive director, Connected Conservation Foundation.

Chris Panzeca, senior director, Global Strategic Partner Sales at Cisco, added: “This network demonstrates the power of innovative technologies to support conservation efforts. Together, we are driving positive impact – creating safe havens for animals and empowering local communities.”

“Few individuals readily connect wildlife conservation and IoT; however, the pairing is indeed a perfect match,” said Olivier Hersent, CEO, Actility.

He added: “Wildlife protection is an ideal use case for LPWAN IoT, given the vast territories to monitor, the necessity for long-lasting, low-cost sensors and the requirement for security technology to combat poaching. We are delighted and proud to witness LoRaWAN and ThingPark playing a pivotal role in supporting this remarkable preservation endeavour.” 

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