CMCC 5G Corner

2021-12-24 |

China Mobile 5G Builds Protective Shelters for Biodiversity

Yunnan province has the greatest diversity of animal and plant species in China.
With its breathtaking snowy peaks and high-altitude plateaus, a tropical rainforest that nurtures lives and the relentless power of the majestic lakes and rivers. The biodiversity here is beyond imagination.

Video clip of a flying squirrel taken by a nest box monitoring system jointly made by China Mobile Group Yunnan Co. Limited with Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ) under Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)

To help preserve this vital biodiversity, China Mobile Group Yunnan has customized a series of solutions specifically for the Kunming Institute of Zoology (KIZ) to create a natural looking “5G+” box monitoring system, by leveraging China Mobile’s 5G technology, artificial intelligence (AI) -based species detection and big data mining technique. China Mobile has contributed pioneering technology for the construction of biodiversity shelter in Southwest China.

Introducing “second sight” for biodiversity
The Gaoligong Mountains National Nature Reserve in Yunnan is well known worldwide on its diversity of species and providing a sanctuary for wildlife including rare endemic species. It is also home to nearly 6,000 types of plants and more than 3,000 kinds of animals have been recorded here, of which 525 are bird species. Research works has always been tough due to remote location, density of wild plants and steepness of the terrain, forest and wildlife conservation.

Image taken with a drone in the Gaoligong Mountains

To overcome these challenges on collecting data and biodiversity conservation in the nature reserve, China Mobile Group Yunnan built a 5G network here and installed nearly 100 panoramic cameras. By integrating AI into big data analytic computing, along with the use of location monitoring platforms on mobile terminals and computers, it can capture more comprehensive information about the growth of plants and animals.

Image of a smart nest box taken with an infrared camera (giant squirrel)

The deployment of the monitoring equipment has already covered the Baihualing Pilot Zone, Qinghuahai National Wetland Park and three major areas of Gaoligong Mountains National Nature Reserve. It has also expanded the scale of observation that could never be achieved by human eyes, equipping researchers with “second sight” around the clock.

Meanwhile, China Mobile 5G network relentlessly sends back real-time data including images and their locations. Flora and fauna observation has become more consistent, which has also greatly improved the accuracy of research data. 

Image taken with drone in the Gaoligong Mountains

The 5G monitoring platform also allows forest rangers to capture photos of animals and plants that have never be seen before, and making new discoveries. The images are sent to the nature reserve, which helps researchers trace the wildlife more efficiently, and better study Yunnan’s biodiversity.

Smart monitoring system escorts Asian elephants on migration
Earlier last year, a group of “curious” wild Asian elephants in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan started a northbound food tour, and were later named as some of the most influential “KOLs” of the year. Their migration trip garnered global attention – where did they go? Did they encounter any danger?

Elephants playing in Wild Elephant Valley, Xishuangbanna

To ensure the safety of the Asian elephants on their migrating trip, China Mobile Group Yunnan collaborated with the local Forestry Bureau to launch a 5G+ Wild Asian Elephant Monitoring and Protection Project. Through the 5G 700M network jointly built with China Radio and Television, the first digitalized and smart management system in China, encompassing wildlife protection an effective early monitoring and warning mechanism emerged. Furthermore, with the help of information technology, it provided a variety of methods to observe, trace and protect elephants.

CCTV of 3 wild elephants entering the Mohan border check point at the China-Laos border

By connecting to the 5G module, which consisted of over 600 infrared cameras and more than 20 cameras, China Mobile Group Yunnan conducts real-time monitoring of the surrounding conditions on check points. With the use of the AI-based and top-notch single image identification, it can see and recognize Asian elephants up to 95%, it’s a huge accomplishment compared to the human eye’s daytime and nighttime rate of around 60% and 10% respectively, making it a wildlife and industry first.

Screen at the Monitoring and Early Warning Centre of Asian elephants

China Mobile’s 5G network will instantly transfer the images captured to the back office, syncing with the national forestry information platform. With the analytical processing power of technology like big data and AI, the system maps out the elephant herd’s habitats and their movements, making it an important tool for scientific research on the wild Asian elephant. When the system manages to trace the elephants’ locations and when there is potential for conflict in lives between the elephants and villagers, the back office will automatically issue warnings and reminders via nearly 200 smart radios scattered in 8 towns and 25 village committees. 

Night activities captured by the infrared cameras of the Asian elephant early warning system

Since the completion of the first phase construction in March 2020, the platform has collected around 600,000 image files, of which roughly 50,000 contain wild Asian elephants. It provides a colossal volume of information for subsequent scientific work about wild Asian elephants and their habitats.

5G firefighters, a guard protected by plants
Yunnan has a high incidence of forest fires. Disaster detection and statistical analysis, by the management of forest ranger team, revealed many shortcomings across the entire forest fire prevention network. By leveraging the advantages of 5G, China Mobile Group Yunnan developed and combined forest fire preventive information system forest ranger management system, and later formed an Integrated Smart Forestry Management and Protection Platform. Moreover, the platform is mainly for video surveillance including satellite monitoring, aerial monitoring and manual patrol etc. It creates a three-dimensional forest fire preventive alert system by combining ‘air, sky, earth and people’ as one.

In Dali, with the interconnected network transmission system across provinces, cities and towns, China Mobile Group Yunnan helped build a local integrated management system encompassing forest fire monitoring, emergency handling and daily forest fire preventive operation. In order to target the ancient Dali town, as well as forest fire-prone and -susceptible locations, it built 194 sets of front-end monitors with an observation radius of 5km and 10km, and 45 sets of remote emergency broadcast, which effectively covered up to 65% of the area. It has therefore consolidated a holistic, 24/7, high-precision and smart forest fire detection system. 

A century-old tree in Baiji Temple, Shangri-la

China Mobile Group Yunnan has also made outstanding contributions to formulate 5G smart plans to preserve precious plants. In the Baiji Temple in the ancient city of Dukezong in Shangri-la, seven cypress trees have been quietly witnessing the changes of history over the past 200 years and are considered important living artefacts.

Case study platform showcasing the preservation of the ancient cypress trees in Baiji Temple, in Shangri-la

China Mobile Group Yunnan has built a 5G smart management platform. Through the monitoring equipment interacting with things and environment, it provides nine real-time updates including humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall, sunshine hours, soil temperature and humidity, illuminance and total radiation. In addition to that, thermal camera system will send the statistics of the surrounding environment back to the control center, effectively preventing forest fires by utilizing technology to guard the health of ancient trees.

From adorable flying squirrels in the Gaoligong Mountains and the travelling elephants with followers worldwide, to the conservation of vital forests, plants and national cultural relics, China Mobile fully leverages the advantages of 5G information technology, developing a smart protective wall for the conservation of animals, plants and culture. This is an exciting demonstration of the use of intelligent technology by an enterprise committed to participating in the preservation of biodiversity.