“There’s a quarter of a million dollars of rhino horn walking around Ol Pejeta,” says Malcom Brew, chief technology officer for Mawingu Networks, which provides Internet access to nearby Nanyuki, Kenya shared with Microsoft News. “It used to be, if you had a bunch of black rhinos on your farm, you were a tourist attraction. Now, poaching is at a fever pitch, so it’s a liability. We need smart ways to help.”
So what “smart ways” are being used in conservation?
Named for the underutilized broadcast bandwidth it employs, TV white spaces is an affordable and reliable source for Internet connectivity currently being used by schools, a health clinic, local government, the Red Cross and young entrepreneurs in Nanyuki, a rural community located near Ol Pejeta and about 125 miles north of Nairobi.
In addition to being affordable and wide ranging, TV white spaces technology is also portable. The transmitter, about the size of your fingernail, can be placed inside a rhino’s horn, instead of on a cumbersome collar around its neck.
Using TV white space at the Ol Pejeta Conservatory in Kenya allows researchers to better understand what’s happening in this remote, fragile environment, and determine the best steps for preserving the land.
Watch how TV White Space is helping conservation in Kenya below: