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19 December 2018

Marwell Zoo showcased as outstanding example of Government’s ideal innovation of the future

The Government has hailed Marwell Zoo's excellence in innovation to mark the anniversary of the Industrial Strategy white paper.

Highlighted in an interactive map profiling 100 businesses and projects that demonstrate a modern industrial strategy in action, Marwell and IBM's use of artificial intelligence -one of the Government's Grand Challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future - was particularly noted.

Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership has also acknowledged Marwell's innovation with a £1.5 million investment in its Energy for Life project which comprises a low carbon energy and waste management centre, as well as a Tropical House visitor attraction with public engagement space.

The map was published alongside the announcement that all local enterprise partnerships will deliver their own Local Industrial Strategies by 2020 at the latest. These will incorporate the Government's Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges - artificial intelligence and data; ageing society; clean growth; future of mobility at a grassroots level.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "We know that growth does not happen in the abstract, it happens in the cities, towns and counties of our country, all with their own unique strengths and heritage.

"Local Modern Industrial Strategies, designed by local businesses and people, will capture the strengths and opportunities of an area and provide the long-term plan for how we ensure we seize those opportunities.

"The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has created an interactive map showcasing just a snapshot of some of the innovative work that is going on across the UK, illustrating the modern Industrial Strategy in action."

The local strategies will, through extensive local consultation, build on unique local strengths to ensure the area reaches its economic potential and creates high quality good jobs. They will also promote the coordination of local economic policy and national funding streams and establish new ways of working between national and local government, and the public and private sectors.

Hampshire-based Marwell Zoo was praised for its work with IBM, using artificial intelligence to heat the enclosures of Nyala antelopes, more accustomed to South Africa's hotter climate.

A thermal imaging smart sensor samples the Nyala sleeping area once per second and sends the sample data to IBM's Watson AI platform in the cloud. The AI algorithm analyses each sample to detect whether the animals are present or not. If they are, and the temperature is too low, then the heating automatically turns on.

As well as being better for the environment, the zoo hopes the trial will save up to 30 per cent on its electric heating bills, leaving more money available to spend on conservation activities or further developments around the park.

Duncan East, Head of Sustainability at Marwell Zoo, said: "This project addresses a particularly big issue for us in terms of our electricity consumption."

The infra-red heaters, above animal stalls, had no control and were manually switched on or off. In winter, heaters might be on constantly even when the animals were grouped together in one area or when they might be outside.

"What we'd like is a control system that allows us to control the heating, turning it on or off depending on whether the animal is present or not," Dr East said. 

Andy Stanford-Clark, Chief Technology Officer, IBM IUK, added: "This is a really special project because it's the first time Marwell's tried using internet-of-things technology to monitor animals in their enclosures. It's special for IBM because we haven't had a chance to try out this IOT technology in the wild and it's allowed us to use some machine-learning algorithms to learn about the behaviour of the animals which helps us better control the heater."

Click here for the Interactive Map https://story.mapme.com/industrial-strategy-uk-innovators/overview

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