Bees are key to our survival on the planet. They pollinate a third of all the food that we eat, but their numbers have been in decline. Indeed, between 1985 and 2005 England alone saw a 54% drop in the number of honey bees. To help conserve the honey bee population, Oracle has announced that it is collaborating with the World Bee Project to create ‘The World Bee Project Hive Network’. This is the world’s first network of connected smart hives that will use cutting edge technology to help conserve honey bees.
The World Bee Project Hive Network will remotely collect data using a network of connected beehives. The data will then be fed into Oracle’s Cloud, which will use analytics tools including artificial intelligence (AI) and data visualisation, to give researchers new insights into the relationships between honey bees and their environments.
Our collaboration will allow researchers to ‘listen’ to the honey bees – analysing intricate acoustic data captured inside the smart hives, including the movement of bees’ wings and feet. Combined with other precision measurements – including temperature, humidity and honey yield – researchers will be able to closely monitor bee colonies, detecting patterns and predicting behaviours. This will enable conservationists and bee keepers to take action to protect colonies, such as preventing swarming at the wrong time of year or removing predators like the invasive Asian Hornet.
The data and insights gained by using Oracle Cloud will be made available to research and conservation projects working to protect bees around the world, and ultimately arm researchers with the information needed to work with governments and beekeepers to help reduce the decline in honey bee populations.
The project has launched in the UK, but will be rolled out globally so that, for the first time, we can paint a truly global picture of the health of the bee population.
As the data collected will cover the world we will see how honey bees can be successful. especially when we layer weather, mapping and free government data to enrich the view a scientist or bee keeper has of the health of a beehive. As the volume of data increases the machine learning will start to see patterns in the data which provides a new approach to understanding honey bees.
Conservation today cannot happen without technology.
The World Bee Project Hive Network is an extraordinary example of how one of the world’s oldest traditions – bee keeping – is embracing cutting edge cloud technology to safeguard the future of the world’s most important pollinator.