Innovative application on LoRa measures the presence of protected animal species and gives a boost to renovation task

Nature and sustainability sometimes get in each other’s way. Due to the energy transition, approximately 1.5 million rental homes must be renovated by 2030. That is only possible on one condition; protected animal species such as bats, swifts, and house sparrows must be given somewhere to live after the renovation or rebuilding. Construction companies must demonstrate that these residences are actually being used and the province will enforce this.

Arcadis and KPN have joined forces and developed a new service that means, for the first time, protected animal species in the Netherlands are monitored via the Internet of Things. Many house-building and renovation projects are now being delayed because the handling of protected animal species is not properly safeguarded. This innovation with a smart sensor makes it possible to accelerate construction and renovation plans. The sensors in the nesting boxes measure all movements in the bird and bat boxes 24 hours a day. They are connected to KPN’s nationwide LoRa network, which is designed to exchange small amounts of data between objects and systems. All data can be read online via a specially developed dashboard.

The major advantage of working with this smart solution lies mainly in the statutory monitoring obligation. The Nature Conservation Act requires that measures must be taken before the start of such a renovation to protect the established animal species. And so, ecologists spend years in the field inspecting whether the measures also have an effect.

The smart sensor not only takes over almost all of this fieldwork, but a wealth of data is also released because this sensor measures the movements in the bird and bat boxes 24/7. This data can be used to make product improvements: such as an improved design or orientation of the boxes. Furthermore, among many other applications, populations can be mapped on a larger scale.

The first sensors have now been installed. This will be expanded to about 100 units in the coming weeks and the intention is to roll out this service throughout the Netherlands.