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Saving the Rainforest

Zafar Anjum | June 13, 2013
Gemalto’s solutions sales manager, M2M, Lakhi Baug talks about how M2M communication systems are used to preserve rainforests and why they are better than traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring.

Lakhi Baug

Gemalto’s solutions sales manager, M2M, Lakhi Baug talks about how M2M communication systems are used to preserve rainforests and why they are better than traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring.

Tell us about machine to machine (M2M) communication systems and how authorities in Brazil are using it to preserve the Amazon rainforest?

To prevent illegal logging in the Amazon, Gemalto and Cargo Tracck have developed a discreet tracking device that uses Gemalto's tiny and powerful Cinterion BGS2 M2M module to enable cellular communications between trees and Brazil's law enforcement agencies.

Smaller than a deck of cards for inconspicuous deployment, the tracking device is camouflaged in a resin case that is made to blend in with tree trunks and installed in remote active harvesting areas deep in the jungle. With a sophisticated power management system that vastly improves power efficiency, the M2M modules in the tracking device can remain active in the field for about a year without being recharged. The devices are also rugged enough to operate reliably in rainforest heat and moisture, while being powerful enough to track trees through remote and dense forests.

The moment a tagged tree is harvested, officials from the Brazilian Institute of Environment are immediately notified by the tracking device. Cutting-edge geo-location algorithms allow precise tracking with unprecedented accuracy, as location data is transmitted the moment harvested trees pass within 20 miles of a cellular network. This allows officials to remotely track trees and intercept illegal loggers in the act of selling timber at sawmills, which ultimately leads to quicker prosecution to stop illegal activities and preserve the rain forest.

What is Invisible Tracck and how did it come into being? Was this solution especially created/devised for a client?

Invisible Tracck is the name of the wireless device that was developed by Gemalto and our partner Cargo Tracck, as part of a pilot programme to thwart illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

The solution leverages the built-in capabilities of the Cinterion BGS2 M2M module with advanced power management and its robustness being put to good use in the harsh environment of the Amazon rainforest.

The device is meant as a supplement to traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring systems that typically provide information only on long term deforestation patterns rather than real-time tracking.

How is M2M communications better than traditional satellite surveillance and radio monitoring? Can it be used in India's Naxal/Maoist infested areas where authorities have failed to pick up intelligence with video surveillance?

Satellite surveillance and radio monitoring has been traditionally deployed to protect a massive area, but this method tracks deforestation based on long term patterns. To get around this, illegal loggers have abandoned clear-cutting for stealthy new logging strategies that target small tracks of the most prized trees, which renders them almost undetectable.

 

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