IoT goes on safari with IBM’s new solution to save endangered rhinos

22 Sep 2017

Baby rhino. Image: SP Smith/Shutterstock

IBM is teaming up with researchers in South Africa to use IoT to help save the endangered rhinos.

This week within the world of Irish internet of things (IoT) news, the Government announced it was backing a plan to roll out smart energy meters across the country starting in 2019.

The €1.2bn project is expected to see everyone’s energy bills to increase by €5.50 per year in order to fund the project, but the Commission for Energy Regulation has said that it expects households to save €20 per year with the meters.

With a SIM card installed, the meters will transmit energy readings up to 48 times a day. It is estimated, however, that they will not be fully rolled out across the country until 2024.

How IBM is using IoT to help protect rhinos in the wild

With the help of conservationists and researchers looking into the threat of extinction of rhinos in South Africa, IBM will start using IoT to help track rhinos for their protection from predators.

Protecting the rhinos begins with fitting collars containing custom sensors onto prey animals including zebra, wildebeest, eland and impala, which will transmit data about their behaviour to the IoT platform.

This allows researchers to collect their location information, movement, direction and average speed of travel, along with other data. The data is used by researchers to create approximately 20 rule-based patterns based on the animals’ response to threats.

This means animals such as zebra will act as sentinels, with their response patterns becoming an early warning system to protect the rhinos.

This, IBM said, will make conservation efforts a proactive pursuit, rather than a reactive one that often comes too late to save them.

Baidu announces $1.5bn autonomous car research fund

According to Reuters, Baidu’s ‘Apollo Fund’ plans to invest in around 100 autonomous car projects over the next three years as it aims to take on Silicon Valley, including its American search rival, Google.

The fund was named after the famous 1969 moon landing mission and is part of an effort to have a fully autonomous car on Chinese roads by the end of the decade.

So far, the company has already partnered with 70 different companies in the auto industry, 20 of which have been added in the past two months.

The announcement coincides with the latest release of Baidu’s own open-source autonomous car software, Apollo 1.5, which was first opened up to developers back in April with the hope of giving an edge over companies such as Waymo and Tesla.

DHL and Huawei team up for joint NB-IoT venture

DHL’s supply chain division has announced plans to hook up its automotive site in Liuzhou, China with narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) applications to facilitate and streamline yard management for inbound-to-manufacturing logistics.

Huawei will be providing the technology for the programme with a proof of concept that will see 100 DHL drivers hooked up to the network at a section with 30 docks.

The benefits to DHL, it said, will be in reducing inefficiencies such as when shipments need to be handled at a different dock to the manufacturing site.

The NB-IoT chipsets installed in the vehicles work so that when a truck arrives at a dock, its driver checks in via an app on their mobile, receiving a queue number and an estimated waiting time.

“By 2025, IoT has the potential to generate up to €1.77trn in additional value for the international logistics industry,” said Dr Markus Voss, CIO and COO of DHL Supply Chain.

“Together with Huawei, we want to pursue this path in developing cellular-based IoT technology able to connect to multiple devices across long distances. Our goal is to enable a more integrated logistics value chain through greater connectivity, enhancing the customer experience.”

Discussing the impact of GDPR on autonomous vehicles and connected cars

An interesting piece appeared on LinkedIn this week from Krasina Mileva, co-founder, COO and legal counsel for UK start-up Dovu, which claims to have built the world’s first mobility cryptocurrency using blockchain.

In her post, Mileva discussed the impact of GDPR on autonomous vehicles and connected cars – particularly, how much of a potential minefield it can be without the right due diligence.

The EU’s GDPR legislation will likely continue to play some role in the UK’s future even after it officially leaves the union in 2019, which means that companies will still need to ensure their cars are sealed tight from a data protection perspective.

“Stakeholders across the connected and autonomous vehicles sector should therefore enter into extremely structured future-proof agreements, which clearly identify each party’s respective obligations with respect to the use and protection of personal data and the apportionment of risk where there is a data breach,” Mileva wrote.

“This is particularly important given the huge fines that supervisory authorities may impose.”

Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic