The IoT device network can identify the sounds of illegal logging taking place and sound the alarm with local authorities

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? 
Now, Vodafone is putting an end to the thought experiment with the deployment of an IoT device network in a Romanian forest, aiming to tackle the growing problem of deforestation through illegal logging.
As part of the smart forest project, Vodafone equipped the forest in Covasna County with sensors that can provide real time monitoring, identifying the sounds related to forestry equipment and the logging industry and allowing the relevant authorities to react. 
The devices, called ‘digital guardians’ are based on a solution first developed by non-profit start-up Rainforest Connection. They record audio from the surrounding forest, sending it via Vodafone’s network to a cloud platform where it is interpreted by AI to identify the suspect sounds. Each device is installed non-intrusively into the upper segment of the tree, with an operating range of around one square kilometre.
“Romania is among the few countries in Europe that can still be proud of its virgin forests. Unfortunately, they are in danger of destruction. One of Vodafone’s commitments is to protect the planet and to use technology to make a positive impact on society, to contribute to change and progress, to connect people and society for a better life and for a sustainable future,” said Murielle Lorilloux, CEO Vodafone Romania. “The solution we are launching today responds to an immediate need to prevent illegal logging and to be able to intervene in a timely manner to protect the last secular areas, but also to a long-term goal of action against climate change. Taking care of the planet’s future is a responsibility for us all – authorities, companies, environmental organizations and citizens, and each of us can contribute to this goal through responsible behaviour and joint efforts.”
The move comes as Vodafone launches its ‘Together We Can’ brand project, which is focussed on overcoming the digital divide and encouraging environmentally friendly solutions to societal issues. This new brand positioning replaces their previous version called “The future is exciting. Ready?” which was launched around three-and-a-half years ago.
Explaining the change in message, Vodafone explained that the acceleration of digitalisation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic had been a key factor.
“Technology has evolved from something that simply excites people on a personal level, to something that plays a more meaningful role in the world at large, in particular, on issues such as sustainability and societal development,” said the company.
Consumer research conducted by the operator reportedly revealed that eight out of ten people had indicated that sustainability was a ‘key factor’ when it came to brand preferences.
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