The project is designed to help countries like the Philippines, which rely on the reefs for food, tourism, and protection against storms.
Consultancy firm Accenture is working with the non-profit Sulubaaï Environmental Foundation (SEF) to monitor and analyze coral reefs surrounding the Pangatalan Island in the Philippines.
Instead of human divers capturing video footage, which can disrupt marine life, the Accenture team installed an artificial reef, with video cameras placed to photograph and analyze fish.
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The video cameras send photographs to Accenture’s Applied Intelligence Video Analytics Service Platform (VASP), to classify marine life. SEF workers are then able to see real-time analytics of fish populations, trends, and other data to make informed decisions.
Accenture’s VASP is powered by Intel Xeon and Movidius VPU, both built for artificial intelligence.
“The value of your data depends on how quickly you can glean insights to make decisions from it,” said Athina Kanioura, Accenture’s chief analytics officer and applied intelligence lead.
“With the ability to do real-time analysis on streaming video, VASP enables us to tap into a rich data source — in effect doing ‘hands-on’ monitoring without disrupting the underwater environment.”
Accenture embedded the artificial coral in May 2019, and it has already taken 40,000 images.
“The project is an incredible example of how AI and edge computing can be used to help researchers monitor and restore the coral reef. We are very proud to partner with Accenture and the Sulubaaï Environmental Foundation on this important effort to protect our planet,” said Rose Schooler, corporate vice president in Intel’s sales and marketing group.
Climate change and overfishing have caused coral reefs around the globe to deteriorate, some to the point of death. Countries like the Philippines, which rely on the reefs for food, tourism, and protection against storms, have started restoration programs to improve biodiversity in coral reefs.
The current project is based on the Pangatalan Island, a small island near Palawan province. Accenture is already working on improvements to the project, with a new neural network and backup power supply in the works.
“Our ecosystem of corporate and social partners for this ‘AI for social good’ project proves that strength in numbers can make a positive environmental impact,” said Jason Mitchell, managing director at Accenture.