Cork tech firm in €1.2m ‘internet of trees’ deal with European Space Agency

29 May 2017

Image: Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock

Internet of trees player Treemetrics to create the Google of world forestry.

Cork tech firm Treemetrics has signed a €1.2m deal with the European Space Agency (ESA) to roll out a tree growth analytics system, including a unique tree sensor device.

The tree sensor has been designed to monitor minute increases in the plant’s growth.

‘Forests are the lungs of the Earth and cover over 30pc of the planet’

The solution creates a kind of mesh network that maps out a digital forest. The resulting data is transmitted via satellite to provide real-time analytics for forest managers.

The internet of trees

There are more than 4bn hectares of forest across the world, and they are increasingly under threat due to deforestation and degradation.

“The internet of trees system was inspired by Fitbit, and we are leveraging the very latest advancements from the internet of things transformation,” said Treemetrics CEO Enda Keane.

He said that collecting regular up-to-date data in the forest is expensive, given the extent and remoteness of this vital resource.

“We are on a mission to deploy many millions of forest sensors around the world to better understand forest growth and enable more sustainable management.

“The new sensor and supporting communication system is a world first for the forestry industry, and promises to transform global monitoring and enable deeper understanding of forest growth.”

This ESA collaboration follows a €1m deal announced in April with Irish forestry management agency Coillte. This project will enable Coillte to have greater control over forestry harvesting using real-time satellite communications and a cutting-edge analytics platform.

A previous €1m contract with the ESA announced in 2015 saw Treemetrics double its workforce to 40 people at the time.

“I am excited about the positive impact this digital analytics and measurement technology can provide to ensure real-time monitoring of our trees, as forests are the ‘lungs of the Earth’ and cover over 30pc of the planet,” said Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan, TD.

“People are very concerned with the level of damage occurring as a result of increasing climate temperatures.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years