An Internet for Our World, Not Just Our Things | FirstRain

An Internet for Our World, Not Just Our Things

Across the globe, big data and IoT are revolutionizing Conservation efforts.

A concept first named in 1985, the Internet of Things (IoT) is undergoing a modern revival thanks to advances in big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. As consumers rush towards the benefits of wearable technology and smart house applications, a handful of revolutionary thinkers are applying the technology to benefitting our earth.

smart city

Smart Cities
30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 came from electricity and heat production. In reaction, cities are incorporating climate change, resilience, and sustainability goals into their smart city aspirations. By 2020, half of all smart city objectives will include these concerns, as reported by @Gartner. Part of the smart city movement, Atlanta, Georgia has already begun incorporating sustainability into its city grid.

A smart cities innovator, Ingenu recently announced an Atlanta project. The Atlanta Machine Network intends, as stated by Peter Murray of @Dense Networks, to connect and monitor “everything from street lighting, traffic signals and parking” in an effort to reduce energy and water usage city-wide.


Conservation of Marine Mammals
Marine residents of the Indo-West Pacific waters, dugongs are threatened by “local fishing, destruction of habitat and illegal hunting” rendering them vulnerable for extinction. To help, IoT cloud provider, @Kii, has been supporting @Smart Earth Networks (SEN) and @Community Centered Conservation (C3) in a “citizen science” conservation project in the Busuanga region of the Philippines. The project equipped fishermen with basic smartphones, provided by local company @Cherry Mobile, enabling them to take photos when they spot the vulnerable marine mammals. Photos are uploaded via SEN’s app to Kii’s cloud, indicating dugong location through GPS. This allows C3 to map and evaluate the local dugong population for future, actionable, protection recommendations.

Close relatives of the dugong, manatees are also at risk. A project started in November, applies AI technology to manatee conservation efforts. Owned by @Google, AI protocol @TensorFlow is being taught with the aid of machine learning to spot manatees in aerial drone-produced photos. The ability would save hours of researchers’ time and lead to quicker, more frequent conservation efforts.


Anti-Poaching Efforts

Most threatened species, including the manatees and dugongs, lose a large number to poaching. AI platform, @Avata, is being applied to anti-poaching efforts in Uganda. AI learns poacher behavior and how to arrange effective security patrols so wildlife rangers can stay a step ahead of poachers.



Though IoT, AI, and big data are becoming extraordinary tools for environmental efforts, they are innately part of the problem. In the U.S. alone, data center electricity consumption is expected to reach an annual 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020, equivalent to an annual 100 million metric tons of carbon pollution. Fortunately, many of these companies are working towards self-improvement.

For example, with data centers accounting for 6.9% of all energy consumption in Singapore, active data companies are applying environmentally friendly practices:

  • A modular approach to data centers that utilizes just-in-time principles
  • Waste reduction through adoption of renewable energy sources
  • Alternate cooling techniques such as reclaimed water

In America, @GE and @Intel combined their respective offerings, Predix and gateway technologies, to create intelligent lighting – a networked lighting system that aims to improve efficiency. Each have applied the system to their own infrastructures including GE’s factory, Intel’s Arizona plant, and, soon, at Intel HQ in Santa Clara.
 The Market
Through IoT, it is thought that information technologies can reduce carbon dioxide emissions globally by 20%. With major companies entering the IoT market, the percentage may be even greater. From telecommunications companies like Verizon to platform providers like Salesforce to IBM, companies across the board are making moves into IoT.*

*Entry moves provided by FirstRain market analytics

This blog is part of an Industry & Market Series –  analyzing what FirstRain users are tracking at the moment in order to gain advantage for the moment.