ICCB2019 was my first International Congress for Conservation Biology and it was an amazing experience. Thanks to the 'Resources' section of Wildlabs I got to know of the event. Not just the event but the SCB conservation tech award, due to which I was able to waiver off the conference registration fee. 500 USD is quite a significant amount for a founder of a budding start-up Appiko, especially in the hard domain for developing tech for wildlife conservation. A heartful thanks to the SCB ConsTech Working Group and Microsoft for this.
I got an opportunity to do a speed talk on our ongoing project of creating an open-source sensor system that can monitor fence integrity at the edge of a forest reserve and provide real-time notification in case of a breach with low-power long-range communication. This project is specifically aimed at mitigating the Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) around the Bandipur national park in India.
Being a newbie to ICCB, I missed out two important meetings early in the conference - Conservation Technology Think Tank by SCB Conservation Technology Working Group and the Workshop on benefits of open-source conservation technology. The mobile app was decently useful afterwards to keep track of the numerous talks and events happening at the conference and I'll make sure not to miss such events next time.
One of the highlights of the entire experience was the 'Happy Hour' meet at the Skybar to chat about #tech4wildlife with the who's who in this area. Getting to know what everyone is up to and sharing the challenges faced was quite insightful. The spectacular view of the Petronas Towers all this while was a cherry on the top.
Suppose you're in a café and you come across this individual with whom you connect instantaneously. There's an almost telepathic level of understanding because you two don't have to communicate the basic assumptions and necessities of your thoughts, but you can focus on the nuances. And after this deep, engaging conversation when you part ways, you feel this longing and loneliness that wasn't there before. This is what happened to me after meeting all the folks involved in developing tech for wildlife conservation. It was great to meet people who have realized this need not just intellectually but emotionally and are working make it happen in their own way. It felt like we were feeding off each other's passion.
It wasn't just only fuzzy feeling, there were also discussions for tangible collaboration to bring together all the HEC work that we are doing separately to have multiple layers of detection and warning, with various parties bringing in different tech and funding. Now the intention is to make sure we keep the connections and momentum built from this meeting going forward.