IoT Detects Wildfires Before Things Get Hot

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IoT Detects Wildfires Before Things Get Hot

Dryad Networks, an environmental IoT startup plans to develop a large-scale IoT network for the ultra-early detection of wildfires. Dryad’s digital forest solution is designed to help public and private forest owners monitor, analyze and protect the world’s largest, most remote forests and tackle the devastating impact of wildfires on the environment, wildlife and communities.

Thanks to several ground-breaking technology innovations, Dryad’s large-scale IoT solution uses a network of sensors for ultra-early detection of wildfires in under 60 minutes even in remote areas, prompting a faster response than existing solutions.
By contrast, camera and satellite-based solutions can take several hours or even days to identify a fire because they rely on the smoke plume developing enough to be detected from a long distance. This makes it far more difficult, or even impossible, for fire fighters to contain the outbreak. And emerging solutions based on the NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) standard are not practical for large-scale and remote forests where the cost of building a LTE/4G network is prohibitive.
The idea for a wireless IoT network to connect the natural world was conceived by Brinkschulte and co-founder Marco Bönig when the devastating fires ripped through the Amazon rainforest in 2019. That year, forest fires generated 7.8bn tonnes of CO2 – almost 20% of the annual global emissions from the burning of fossil fuels[1] – while decimating one of the planet’s most important carbon sinks. Wildfires also account for the displacement of tens of thousands of people, approximately $5bn of direct fire-fighting costs and over $100bn[2] of economic damage globally every year.
The team successfully tested a minimum viable product in a forest in Germany in May 2020, and has since secured ten letters of intent from forest owners in Germany and Africa.

IoT Detects Wildfires Before Things Get Hot

The solution consists of solar-powered sensors that use AI to detect gases emitted in the smoldering stage of a wildfire as well as temperature, humidity and air pressure. Gateways featuring Dryad’s patent-pending distributed mesh architecture – an extension to the LoRaWAN open standard for long-range radio IoT networks. A cloud-based dashboard to analyze and monitor a wide range of indicators and alert forest managers.
Dryad’s gateways interconnect in a multi-hop mesh network, making it possible to cover very large forests, rather than the real-world 12km range supported by other LoRaWAN gateways. This key technology makes it economically viable to build a communications network for large forests where there is no mobile network coverage. Dryad border gateways at the edge of the network connect to wireless (LTE/NB-IoT), satellite or wired internet to access the Dryad cloud platform.
A commercial business with sustainability and tech for good at its core, Dryad’s vision is to digitize the world’s forests and help protect and regrow the world’s largest carbon sinks. Plans include supporting sustainable forest management by providing forest owners with insights into the health, microclimate and growth of their forests. This will also help them manage their estates more efficiently and profitably.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Dryad Networks/Wix

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