|India is known for its biodiversity / Photo Credit: Roop_Dey (via Shutterstock)|
India is home to more than 1,300 species of birds, but their habitats are constantly under threat, causing ecological imbalance, according to Sohini Baghi of CXOtoday.com, a premier resource on the IT industry. In the “State of the World’s Birds 2018” report, it found that one in eight birds are in danger of extinction. This was reported by BirdLife International, a world leader in bird conservation. Moreover, 40% of the world’s 10,000+ species are declining due to climate change, industrial farming, logging, and more. Therefore, there is a need to create a scalable model to engage more people, communities, and organizations working in this space.
In association with non-governmental wildlife research organization Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), IT consultancy firm Accenture developed an IoT-based Birds platform that identifies bird species found in India. The platform is also the first of its kind in the country. Managing director at Accenture labs Sanjay Podder told CXOToday, “We realized that most people find it difficult to identify rare birds unless they are experts or have read books on ornithology.” He noted that India lacked a centralized repository to aid amateur bird lovers and conservationists in identifying birds. “This is when Accenture Labs started working with BNHS to design and develop the Internet of Birds platform,” he added.
Initially, the Internet of Birds platform identified nearly 100 species of birds in India. But now, it can identify nearly 700 species in less than a year. Podder explained that the platform is a “cloud-based, image recognition and deep learning platform which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), including machine learning and computer vision.” It has been trained on birds found in the Indian subcontinent using a deep learning algorithm called convolutional neural network. The Internet of Birds platform also utilizes a unique citizen crowdsourcing approach that enables bird watchers to upload information on rare birds they encounter.
Podder stated, “In addition, its AI at the edge functionality enables mobile access to the information in remote locations such as deep jungles with poor or no internet connectivity.” In his perspective, the Internet of Birds is a powerful example of how technology can drive innovation that benefits communities and the planet alike.