A South African tech firm and networking company Cisco, announced a partnership to save rhinos being poached in the country. The technology deployed by the companies will track vehicles and people entering the reserve that is located near the Kruger National Park.
The primary goal of the pilot project dubbed “Connected Conservation” technology is to stop people entering to the reserve illegally. The similar technology would be deployed in other reserves across South Africa, Africa and in other regions worldwide, designed to protect the rhinos, as well as other endangered species such as elephants, lions, pangolins and tigers in India and Asia.
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The companies have installed Wi-Fi hotspots around the reserve. Dimension Data has already deployed Reserve Area Network (RAN) using Cisco technology, which would be the first such installation.
Bruce Watson, Dimension Data executive said hundreds of staff, suppliers, contractors, security personnel and tourists enter the game reserves regularly. As the reserve is based in a remote location, the human activities in these regions are not being monitored.
According to data by South African Department of Environment Affair’s Report 2015, as many as 1,215 rhinos were killed in 2014, which suggests three rhinos were being killed per day. If this continues, the death rate of rhinos could overtake their births by 2018.
The companies, in the second phase, plans to incorporate CCTV, drones featuring infrared cameras, thermal imaging, vehicle tracking sensors as well as seismic sensors on a secured intelligent network.
The use of drones for the purpose of conservation is not new. In 2015, British scientists from the University of St Andrews displayed a system dubbed Protect Rapid that features a satellite collar with a heart-rate monitor and video cameras embedded in the rhino’s horn.
There are schemes to keep microchip under the animal’s skin. Watson explained, “With our Connected Conservation technology, we don’t touch the animals by darting them with tranquilisers to insert sensors into their horns, or insert a chip under their skin. This can be extremely stressful and risky for the animal and we’ve seen a number of rhinos either dying, or going blind, and having to be euthanased.”
Speaking to BBC, Paul Glover-Kapfer, the World Wildlife Fund’s technology adviser said, “The system outlined by Cisco and Data Dimensions, whilst not a panacea, is a welcome addition on this front.”
“To be truly transformative, technology needs to be accessible, both in terms of its technical complexity and affordability, added Glover-Kapfer, “Connectivity in particular is a huge challenge facing many conservation organisations, and WWF is working with technology leaders to design systems for real-time data transfer to and from the remote areas within which we work.”
In a ground-breaking move, three leading local IT companies have banded together to launch South Africa’s first pay-per-use, fully-managed, corporate networking solution which will be targeted at developing markets throughout Africa. Dubbed EasyLAN, the solution has been developed under the auspices of a joint venture agreement between the local arm of Extreme Networks, a leading worldwide software and services-led networking solutions company, Integr8, a local ICT management specialist, and Duxbury Networking, a leading value-added distributor with a continent-wide footprint. EasyLAN is a standardised managed service allowing customers to take advantage of the latest networking technologies and modern hardware and software offerings without having to invest in a costly in-house infrastructure. EasyLAN will enable businesses to manage their network services via an online portal in real time,” explains Andy Robb, chief technology officer at Duxbury Networking. “There is no upfront capital investment needed as customers pay only on a per-port-used basis. Moreover, EasyLAN ensures that the latest technological developments from Extreme Networks are incorporated as part of the deal.” Robb says the EasyLAN solution represents a definitive evolution of cloud-based technologies and is the spearhead of the joint venture’s new cloud networking initiative within the African business arena. “In the same way as the cloud boosted the management of data centres, so the concept of networking-on-demand, as supported by EasyLAN, will be a boost for corporate networks,” he notes. Martin May, regional director (Africa) for Extreme Networks, confirms that EasyLAN will be able to transform an organisation’s network infrastructure through the incorporation of next-generation technology. “A key advantage of EasyLAN will be a significantly simplified corporate IT landscape, allowing organisations to fully optimise their investments in networking resources while benefitting from the technical expertise of three of SA’s most prolific networking technology exponents.” He says EasyLAN provides the ultimate in flexibility and simplicity, allowing users to migrate their IT budget spending from capital to operational expenditure by removing the bulk of their hardware. “EasyLAN will assist businesses to keep abreast of the massive increases in data traffic on their networks, a growing percentage of which is video traffic which is putting mounting pressure on legacy networks. “Today, network managers should be tasked with quickly responding to changing business demands by making the corporate network more responsive to user demands, more scalable and more automated.” In this light, May says businesses also need improved control over their networks in order to optimise costs and remain competitive in the fast-paced business environment. According to Bennie Strydom, Chief Sales Officer at Integr8, EasyLAN allows users to moderate their network usage, scaling up or down depending on the ‘ebb and flow’ of business needs, as they pay only for the ports they use on a month-to-month basis. “The solution allows users to free up the time, money and costly resources usually associated with running, maintaining and supporting their networking infrastructures, putting them to better use to develop new, innovative business strategies and solutions,” he adds. Strydom says the pay-per-port offering allows users to customise and configure their LAN ports to accommodate their organisations’ specific work force. “Because users only pay for what they use, it’s a risk-free model. “The EasyLAN solution is supported by comprehensive hardware maintenance and device management services which allow for 24×7 monitoring of users’ networks with an immediate response from a technical support team should a problem arise,” Strydom continues. “Proactive monitoring means the customer will receive best-in-class support and maintenance from a team of highly trained and proficient technicians. Importantly, EasyLAN will give users’ technical teams the space and budget to focus on their own core strengths which include the growth of the business going forward,” he concludes.
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