Ben Kepes says he wants to focus on IT as a tool to make people and planet better.


Ben Kepes says he wants to focus on IT as a tool to improve people and the planet.

Ben Kepes is a Canterbury-based entrepreneur and professional board member. He loves what technology can do for the world.

opinion: I’ve been digging deep into the tech sector for about 15 years.

From cloud to serverless, SaaS to AI, name the innovations in IT. I immersed myself in it.

But the time has come to look to IT as a tool to make people and planet better. IT is a means, not an end.

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That’s why it always warms my heart when I come across examples of how technology is being applied to something good in the world. Today’s example comes all the way from South Africa.

Cambium Networks exists to help unconnected people and places get connected.

South Africa is home to about 19,000 white rhinos, of which about 20% are privately owned.

Kelly Hodel/Staff

South Africa is home to about 19,000 white rhinos, of which about 20% are privately owned.

Through a variety of products and services, we help a wide range of high-demand industries, including government and military agencies, oil and gas utilities, utility companies, and public safety networks, ensure reliable and fit-for-purpose connectivity. increase.

So Cambium may not be the entity that makes bits reach your device quickly, but someone working on an overhead power line somewhere deep in the desert, an oil exploration team that cut costs, or a disaster. It may be a deployed rescue service. -The devastated country utilizes things from Cambium.

The company reached out to me some time ago and told me about a charity they became involved in.

We all know rhinos are one of Africa’s most high-profile endangered species, and many of their threats (beyond habitat loss, etc.) are linked to illegal poaching. .

In this day and age, it seems strange that rhino or elephant ivory is somehow attractive. Especially since most people understand that great animals had to die to create the trinkets in question. An executive standing proudly next to a bear he’s shot can prove that morality is a strange thing.

Anyway, I was based on the simple assumption that rhinos mostly live in zoos, game parks, or vast reserves in Africa.

I was unaware of the somewhat disturbing fact that many rhinos are actually privately owned. South Africa is the guardian of about 19,000 white rhinos, of which about 20% are privately owned. These private owners may own land on which rhinos roam.

Unfortunately, however, these private lands have not been immune to poaching, and after two privately owned white rhinos, Insimbi and Shambula, were slaughtered for their ivory in 2014, joint efforts were made to combat poaching. A support group was formed.

The Limpopo Rhino Security Group (LRSG) was established as a network of private landowners and rhino protectors to pool resources in the fight against poachers.

Given the fact that these individuals are ineligible for government funding for rhino conservation, the need to unite is enormous.

The LRSG covers 250,000 acres of protected land and protects a sizeable number of rhinos, and the group finds private sector partners for their conservation needs.

This is where Cambium comes into play. Using Cambium’s outdoor broadband platform and numerous wireless backhaul links, along with both visible light and thermal surveillance cameras also donated to LRSG, the group created an early warning system.

All video footage is routed (thanks to Cambium’s kit) to a single command center, allowing rapid response units to be deployed as soon as suspicious activity is detected near park boundaries.

The LRSG reports an 82% reduction in rhino poaching in the area in the past six months alone.

It may not get as much attention as whether the next iPhone has a notch, nor is it as impactful as news of Netflix’s new season show, but this is a great example of the tech industry doing something good. for the world.


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