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China Mobile Yunnan and Huawei Jointly Build “1-3-9” All-Optical Smart Cities to Maintain Harmony Between Asian Elephants and Humans


[Kunming, China, October 13, 2021] At the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) 2021, China Mobile Yunnan and Huawei jointly announced the completion of the “1-3-9” All-Optical Smart Cities project, which successfully enabled monitoring and real-time alert for wild animals such as Asian Elephants. With highly reliable all-optical connections, the all-optical network helps maintain the harmonious coexistence of Asian elephants and humans.

Rescue worker assists rescued elephants in wilderness release training

The Yunnan Asian elephant is the largest land animal in Asia, and the number of wild Asian elephants has grown from around 170 in the 1980s to more than 300 today. In this context, the protection of Asian elephants has become an important task in the ecological development of Yunnan province. In 2018, Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture built the first Asian elephant monitoring and warning center in China. In November 2019, the Xishuangbanna established an Asian elephant monitoring, alert and protection system and continuously used innovative technologies to improve Asian elephant monitoring and warning capabilities.

In addition, Xishuangbanna is constantly improving the methods of Asian elephant monitoring and data collection, from infrared cameras with plug-in cards, infrared network cameras to ultra-HD cameras. These upgrades aim to systematically collect and save valuable scientific research and monitoring data, locate Asian elephants in real time, and mitigate human-elephant conflict.

establishment setting

Network engineer operating network equipment

By leveraging 4G / 5G, optical network, cloud, IoT and other innovative technologies, China Mobile Yunnan helps the administration of forests and grasslands of Xishuangbanna to implement a holistic network architecture Asian Elephant Watch and Alert System to support real-time collection and reporting of surveillance data. and provide real-time warnings for local residents. In the past two years, China Mobile Yunnan has formulated an all-optical smart city building plan geared towards the digital construction of Yunnan. The objective of this plan is to build “1-3-9” latency circles covering Kunming, central Yunnan, South Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as to support digital transformation cities of Yunnan. Currently, China Mobile Yunnan and Huawei are focusing on promoting the innovative application of all-optical networks for cities in ecological protection of Asian elephants.

First, the innovative premium private line solution is introduced to support real-time transport of HD videos for Asian elephant monitoring. Asian elephant tracking data is crucial for research into their biological habits and characteristics. High-end private lines not only provide highly reliable transmission of surveillance data, but also support microsecond transmission latency from cameras to the cloud. With lossless HD video data, this solution dramatically improves the efficiency of intelligent elephant identification and enables real-time warning for local residents.

Second, “1-3-9” all-optical network helps achieve collaborative management for the protection of the Asian elephant in different prefectures and counties. The range of activity of the wild Asian elephants covers Xishuangbanna, Pu’er and other prefectures and counties, which makes the collaborative functioning of these prefectures and counties essential. After China Mobile Yunnan’s “1-3-9” all-optical smart city project, the latency in Kunming is less than 1ms, the latency in city clusters in central Yunnan is less than 3ms, and that in South Asia and South East Asia is less than 9 ms. In this way, this project achieves an exchange of government data in real time, ultra-secure and ultra-high bandwidth between forest and grassland administrations, as well as a collaborative operation in the protection of Asian elephants.

Third, an ultra-low latency optical transmission network is constructed from the Asian Elephant Monitoring and Warning Center in Xishuangbanna to the Provincial Forest and Grassland Administration Center (Kunming). This network allows the two centers to work together and jointly conduct biological scientific research on Asian elephants.

With the rapid growth of Asian elephants, the harmonious coexistence of Asian elephants and humans has become an urgent matter. In addition, tracking research related to the identification of individual Asian elephants should be further explored, which will place higher demands on information tracking technologies. With “1-3-9” all-optical smart cities as the all-optical base, China Mobile Yunnan and Huawei will continue to promote the application of next-generation information technologies such as 5G and gigabit optical network in protection. Asian elephants, with the objective of benefiting humans and wildlife as well as achieving harmony between humans and nature through technological innovation.


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