Our planet is home to millions of unique species and while the fascination has largely rested with popular charming creatures, it’s time that the world invests more in conservation of endangered wildlife. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there is a rapid loss of wildlife species that has been estimated as 10K times higher than the natural rate of extinction.
While tigers and gorillas have already featured on that conservation list, a startup based out of Kenya has moved a step ahead bringing the wild to life through augmented reality with the Safari Central Preview App. Safari Central envisions connecting players with the work of conservation projects around the globe in their stride to raise awareness on animals whose natural habitats and populations are imperiled. The app seeks to connect individual animals with people so that the conservation organizations benefit from an increased responsiveness among players. This game gives its users a thrilling opportunity to get involved in wildlife conservation. Internet of Elephants uses AR in their feature-set, and Apple and Google has laid the foundation for several other apps that use AR with their ARKit and ARCore launches respectively. The technology allows for location and mapping features built into devices.
The Nairobi based startup has initiated the “Internet of Elephants” with which users can explore more about the creatures by using a reference guide provided in the app. Players can walk around the physical world for a real-time experience and play games based on the migratory trail of every animal. Internet of Elephants offers to educate consumers about the wildlife in a more engaging and meaningful manner. Tech revolution today already offers a gateway into plethora of content and information that’s just a click away and this app allows the wildlife organizations to capitalize the app evolution. The founder and creator of the product, Gautam Shah is an American who worked in an IT consultancy firm in Kenya. As a wildlife enthusiast, Shah wanted to start a venture of his own that could integrate conservation of wildlife with the mounting tech ecosystem in the city. His passion for wildlife propagated his pursuit of finding an alternative approach to wildlife conservation.
Niarobi is also a popular location from where several development organizations operate. Shah’s team comprises Nairobi natives coupled with expats who had shifted to the city for work. The startup team includes technical and product people who work on different aspects of the game, those focused on developing the content and its interface with the wildlife conservation community at large. Jake Manion is the Product Lead who has worked as the Creative Director for Aardman Animations (the Academy award winning studio).
The highlight of the app’s business model comes from its conservation community. The company seeks to build an “animal kingdom” through intense partnerships and alliance with various groups who can create their own space within the app. The conservationists need to contribute towards building up the content related to a particular animal that could relate to either migratory patterns or any other significant information regarding the chosen creature. The broader idea is to be able to cover wider geographies, distinct groups and as many organizations that are sensitive and work with animals. These would also include conservation oriented preserves as well as zoos.
“Internet of Elephants” is currently partnering with the Chicago Zoological Society and with several eminent gaming and business experts to create “world-class” games that establish a direct connection between inherent animal lovers and wild animals. Shah says, “Rather than trying to get 20,000 people to donate $100, we will try to get 20 million people to pay $5 for an experience they value, and then invest the majority of that directly back in conservation organizations and programs. By doing so we will have engaged the masses with wildlife and generated revenue to widely implement tech-based solutions”.
The app like several other fascinating mobile games entails built-in features which could possibly monetize for its own business as well as on behalf of the conservationist organizations. Shah believes that this would serve as the sole alternative to traditional fundraising and taste success only with conservationists’, technologists’ and entrepreneurs’ devotion to “rewarding business model innovation for conservation”.
Article by Rochita.