How this Tech Founder is using gamification to change how the world engages with wildlife

Before joining us at the HackSummit, we caught up with Gautam Shah, who is building the IoT for wildlife

You can be connected to your refrigerator, your doorbell, your heating.

What if you were connected to animals? And you could follow what was happening with them all the time?

If you felt that their story was part of your story.

And that your story was part of their story.

Nothing beats being in nature, but what if technology could connect people to the stories of all animals, conservationists and habitats around the world. 

Enter Internet of Elephants, the IoT, but for wildlife, founded by Gautam Shah.

An IT consultant at Accenture for 20 years, Gautam would spend his annual leave taking wildlife holidays in different parts of the world.

While watching a penguin in Antarctica he realised that he was the only person benefiting from the experience. And began to think how he could open up new experiences for other people back home, and around the world. 

So when he was sent to Kenya with Accenture to work across agriculture and education, he was inspired to make the move to the conservation sector. 

Gautam zeroed in on his own experiences, and the emotional connection he has with animals, nature and wildlife and wondered if he could capture even a fraction of his experience and open it up to others. 

Do you check your phone when you wake up each morning?

You’re not the only one. Technology is creating connections between people around the world. 

What if the first thing you did every morning was reach over for your phone and check y̶o̶u̶r̶ e̶m̶a̶i̶l̶s̶ what's going on with an elephant, gorilla, leopard that you're following? 

That's the idea behind Internet of Elephants. How can wildlife become part of our daily life and change our relationship with nature?

Here’s how it works

1,000s of animals are being tracked in by GPS collars, camera traps, minute acoustic sampling, for scientific research and conservation efforts. 

And all this data tells stories. And we love real-life stories, especially about wildlife.

Think back to Cecil the Lion or the elephants crossing China for 500 miles .

But 99% of the time this data is limited to appearing in scientific journals.

Internet of Elephants is turning data into stories that anybody in the world can participate in, and in turn, join in the conservation of these animals and the organisations that are supporting them. 

By working with different conservation organisations, Internet of Elephants is working to share stories of their data far beyond its scientific value, to create engagement for broader audiences through gamification and storytelling.

Team up with Adidas

Adidas' running app boasts 150 million users. 

When they joined forces with Internet of Elephants and conservation groups they could integrate data on  elephants, mountain lions, snow leopards, and tigers into the app, showing them as virtual runners. 

Participants could then  track the distance these animals 'ran' daily and compete with them

Over 2 million people joined in, making it one of their most engaging campaigns.

Snow leopards were even covered in Runner’s World. It’s an example of how innovative approaches can bring wildlife and conservation to new audiences.

Embedding wildlife in gamification

Next up, they’ll be joining forces with more existing brands and products to embed conservation and wildlife into digital experiences.

Rather than competing with the likes of Fortnite and Minecraft, can they weave in a national park or wildlife ecosystem to bring wildlife and wildlife data into experiences that already exist? 

Next Up, HackSummit

Gautam is heading to the HackSummit on June 13-14th and giving a keynote on the Builders Stage to inspire Founders, Investors and Operators. He'll share his experience working at the intersection of nature and technology to promote conservation.

Hear Gautam speak on stage and meet him in Lausanne. Get your pass today and save 20% with code NEWS20.