What is your motive for developing games?
Assisting in achieving the survival and welfare of wild animals is the aim in everything we do. Our approach to doing so is to enable a massive audience to engage with wildlife and easily and positively impact wildlife conservation in the process. We see interactive games as a powerful and effective channel to do that. Thus, our mission is to harness the power of games and social media to attract a broader audience to wildlife conservation and generate revenue for the sector.
Where do you get the animal data?
All data is obtained through partnerships with wildlife conservation organisations that have been using the data for scientific studies in the animal’s natural habit. We do not collar animals nor collect any data ourselves.
What do you do with the animal data?
We clean the data, create models from it, and then incorporate it into online and mobile games.
How do you protect the animal data? Can the data be used by poachers or other people wishing to harm the animals?
Since our entire purpose is to support wildlife conservation, the security of the data and the safety of the animals is our top priority. Technology has allowed wildlife conservation organizations to track animals and key locations on GPS units, which are then uploaded and displayed on a map. There are two primary areas of security we are concerned with.
First, securing the raw data itself from any unauthorised access. We will store all our data in industry standard data centers with physically secure and redundant facilities. We will use best of breed encryption, access control and audit logs to ensure data is secured in transit and at rest. Our servers, besides being physically secure, will be housed in access controlled and secure VP(Virtually Private) networks, ensuring there is no possibility of ingress or egress of data housed by us.
Secondly, for the data that we do expose through the games, we want to prevent misuse, either by those that intend to do harm to animals, or those that may wish to influence the results of the games themselves. While raw data will never be exposed, it will be possible to understand an animal’s location(s) because of the nature of the games.
We have two approaches to discourage misuse.
1) Delay the transmission of the data – therefore, while the data will be current, it will never be real time. We are still determining the optimum delay to balance security needs and richness of game play.
2) Offset the data – so, keep the relative movement of the animal the same, but offset the location for where it happens. If we feel that either or both of these methods would not be sufficient to ensure the protection of the animal, we would not introduce it into the game.
How does this affect the animals?
The data we use is collected by wildlife organisations for scientific reasons through collars with GPS technology. We only work with reputable conservation organisations who already have permission to study the animals and are trained in conducting this research in a non intrusive way. We will never collar or un-collar an animal for the purpose of the game.
What do you do with the data of gamers? Will you sell us safaris?
We are not in the tourism business and do not provide a tourism experience. We do not sell or share the data of our gamers with any third party. But we are democratizing the experience of being in nature. A national park provides opportunities for the public to search for and discover magnificent wild animals. We are providing a virtual ecosystem service that does not require physical access.
Where exactly does the money go and who will benefit?
Internet of Elephant is a for-profit social enterprise and therefore our mission is to provide as much benefit to conservation as possible while also rewarding our customers and our shareholders. The majority of proceeds generated through our games will be redirected to our wildlife conservation partners and other wildlife conservation initiatives that meet our grant criteria. While playing the game, players will always know how much of what they spend will be directed to wildlife conservation and for what purposes.