Sensing Clues: "100% uptime is very important for saving wildlife"
Reliable service towards field partners, that is a top priority for Sensing Clues. This Dutch non-profit organisation uses technology to protect wildlife from poachers, including BIT's hosting platform. The uptime of the platform is crucial. "It should not happen that a ranger on the ground does not receive a report from a colleague in an airplane who sees a poacher at work." Sensing Clues founder Jan-Kees Schakel gives a glimpse behind the scenes of this volunteer-run foundation, which needs free services from business partners.
Track down poachers with big data
In Western countries, the use of big data to track down criminals and to combat abuses is common. In Africa and Asia, the application of technology for these kinds of issues is still in its infancy. Hence, Sensing Clues Natural Parks in several African, Asian and European countries come to the rescue in protecting wildlife from poachers. The organisation has developed various solutions for this. The core is the Wildlife Intelligence platform, on which data from various sources comes together and is analysed.
"It should not happen that a ranger on the ground does not receive a report from a colleague in an airplane who sees a poacher at work."
Data collection & tracking app
The first source to be connected to the Wildlife Intelligence platform is the Cluey Data Collector & Tracking app. This is an app on which rangers can record observations, which can be viewed in real time by colleagues. This app replaces communication via walkie-talkies, but does something much more important: it records the complete history, which can then be analysed with the Focus 360 Analytics app. This gives rangers insight into: how many shooting incidents have taken place? Where did that take place? Which weapons were used? Or: how often are elephants spotted near a village? "Because we not only protect animals from poachers, but also people from attacks by wild animals," explains Schakel.
Sensors as virtual senses
The second data source that can be used are sensors with sensing technology. These are sensors that can look, listen and smell. Schakel: “You can see the Cluey app as a tool for the community police officer. With that we put the basics in order. In relatively quiet neighborhoods, the deployment of a local police officer is sufficient to guarantee safety, but in neighborhoods with a lot of violence you want to be able to use more sophisticated investigative tools. In our case that is the sensing technology. With sensors you can detect a lot more crimes, but it is also much more expensive. Because the sensors themselves are expensive, but also network connections that all still have to be built. We therefore look very carefully at what is needed where. The Cluey app provides useful input for that. ”
While the Cluey app and the Focus 360 Analytics app have already developed considerably, a team in the Netherlands is still working hard to improve the sensors. “For example, we are conducting a test with a noise sensor on the Leidseplein in collaboration with the Ombudsman of Amsterdam to measure disturbing noise classes. In this way we train the platform behind it to better distinguish sounds from each other. Because we also need that in the field in Africa or Asia. ”
If we passed on the costs for data center services to the parks, they simply wouldn't be able to afford it.” At the same time, free services should not mean that Sensing Clues is given less priority than other customers. "Because the parks do depend on us."
Depending on donors
BIT provides its services to Sensing Clues free of charge. Schakel: “Our company depends on donors. On the one hand, these are people who give money, but also companies that offer their services for free. If we passed on the costs for data center services to the parks, they simply wouldn't be able to afford it.” At the same time, free services should not mean that Sensing Clues is given less priority than other customers. "Because the parks do depend on us," says Schakel.
Reliability BIT is crucial
He is very satisfied with the collaboration with BIT. “They not only supply virtual machines, they also take over a lot of specialist work and provide us with advice. They think along in all areas, for example about the layout of the platform, the security and the backups. It goes much further than just hosting.” He is very pleased with the speed with which BIT handles questions. “Their reaction speed is fantastic. That is very important to us. We work a lot with volunteers, but they cannot work for us at all times because their paid job does not allow this. That is why it is extra important for us that we can build on a number of partners who are always available to us 24/7. BIT lives up to that promise. ”
Most importantly, uptime has been 100% so far. “I would really sleep badly if a rhinoceros or elephant died because our platform was offline for a moment, so a report was missed and the ranger was late. It really is a mission-critical platform and I am happy that it is in good hands with BIT.”
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