Predator-Free Punakaiki, a volunteer group based in Punakaiki village, on the West Coast of New Zealand, whose goal is “a Punakaiki, free from predators”, has engaged a new weapon in its war on stoats, possums, and feral cats and rats: Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology.
IoT tech helps machines and gadgets communicate with each other over the internet. Things like water quality sensors, smart power meters, soil moisture monitors and – in the Punakaiki case – traps that automatically transmit a signal when they catch a predator.
The trap sensors, supplied by German company MinkPolice, send alerts to the MinkPolice smartphone app.
According to Predator-Free Punakaiki’s Grant Parrett, Vodafone IoT network allows a huge number of traps that are checked by a very small number of volunteers, for his Department of the Conservation-backed project, which targets introduced pests that endanger native birds.
The benefits for the group’s volunteers have been fantastic. Rather than the volunteers committing to walking through arduous terrain to check on traps hoping to find one that’s been triggered – a process that takes up to 4 weeks to cover the trap lines – they can target traps they know have been activated.
Ultimately, the group will be using Vodafone’s IoT technology to help save native species, support their hard-working volunteers and work towards achieving a Predator-Free Punakaiki and beyond that, a Predator-Free New Zealand by 2050.
Vodafone, Spark, Kordia, and others are currently deploying IoT networks around New Zealand, and many pundits see it becoming The Next Big thing in mobile & wireless data use.
Vodafone is launching two Internet of Things network technologies this week, Long Term Evolution for Machines (LTE-M) and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT).
Further adding, Parrette says, initially, the traps used Vodafone’s [older] 2G IoT network, but the group is about to move to the NB-IoT network, which will enable the volunteers to set traps in more remote areas of the sanctuary knowing they’ll still have reliable connectivity.