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#WorldBeeDay: Using sustainable AI to promote hive health

In an effort to promote a healthy, sustainable environment, analytics leader SAS is harnessing the power of sustainable Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve hive health and protect pollinators like bees, butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds. These vital creatures are increasingly under threat from human activities, and SAS is committed to finding innovative solutions for their conservation.

“Pollinators are essential to our food security and biodiversity. With the UN designating 20 May as World Bee Day this reinforces the urgency of protecting these creatures, and our Data for Good project aligns with this mission,” says Tumi Nomlomo, Senior Business Solutions Manager at SAS.

Itumeleng Nomlomo_SAS in South Africa

Pollinators play a critical role in ecosystems and food production. According to a study by the US Department of Agriculture, honeybees facilitate one in three bites of food consumed, and over 75% of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators. Despite their importance, beekeepers have reported a decline in honeybee numbers since the 1990s.

SAS is using sustainable AI and analytics to monitor beehive health with hive-streaming data. With 30% of the world’s beehives lost each winter, SAS’s analytics provide valuable insights into environmental risks bees face, as well as factors such as hive temperature and queen bee sounds. These insights are shared with beekeepers globally, empowering them to measure hive health effectively. “SAS is working towards an automated process to capture activity at beehives, which will enable us to understand vegetation bloom times, honey production, and overall hive health,” explains Nomlomo.

In collaboration with Bee Downtown, SAS welcomed its first honeybee hives to its global headquarters in North Carolina, Cary, three years ago. “As a corporate sustainability leader, SAS’s latest environmental investment is helping save honeybee populations, especially in urban areas. Beehives are a great fit for our established environmental program, as well as our culture,” said SAS Sustainability Program Manager Jerry Williams at the time. This initiative is part of SAS’s commitment to the health of beehive populations.

SAS’s passion for innovation and sustainability led to the development of technology applications to better understand the health of their beehives. Using advanced analytics and event stream processing, SAS transformed their beehives into an Internet of Things (IoT) innovation project. After connecting sensors to the hive, data is streamed from the hive to the cloud for continuous measurement of hive weight, temperature, humidity, acoustics, and flight activity.

While electronic beehive monitoring systems are not new, SAS’s approach to analysing hive data at the point of creation is a departure from the typical method of collecting, storing, and then analysing data. By championing sustainable AI to improve hive health, SAS contributes to the preservation of pollinators and food security globally and in Africa, showcasing the power of technology for social good.