HP uses database software to help save endangered species

Posted by Justin Hesser on December 11, 2013

In some ways, technology has had a negative impact on the environment. The inexorable march of mechanization hasn't always been kind to the earth or to the other animals that live on it. Now, however, Hewlett-Packard is focusing its managed IT services software on mitigating or reversing those issues entirely.

The company announced "Earth Insights" on Tuesday, a program that seeks to apply the analytical power afforded by Big Data to help aid in environmental efforts. 

"HP Earth Insights uses our products and services to deliver near real-time analytics to provide scientists with more accurate and more actionable environmental information," HP president and CEO Meg Whitman said in a statement.

The software can identify trends in animal endangerment in real time. This capability creates a sort of "early warning system" for threatened species: rather than being reactive, and attempting to save an animal after it is already too late, conservationists can address threats before they become catastrophes. What used to take a team months to gather and analyze can now be done by a single person, in just a matter of hours.

So far, about 1,000 cameras and sensors have been installed in forest areas around the world, providing a wide range of information, including vegetation, precipitation, temperature, carbon stocks, humidity and solar radiation. This data is then distributed to area managers, governments and researchers for analysis. Working together, they can help not only protect animals, they can also develop policies that best support their habitats.

HP has already reported valuable insights. With all of the negative effects innovation can have on the environment, it's heartening to see it used to protect it.