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Big Tree protects Cats and Dogs by 5G & AI

Big Tree Animal Sanctuary and Adoption Center (hereafter Big Tree) is a charity organization in Hong Kong. The center is located in a remote rural area surrounded by hills and trees. It is facing high wildfire risks, especially in April and October. Big Tree uses 5G and RoboticsCats AI-Cloud SaaS to early detect wildfire and mitigates wildfire risks to the center and the animals living in it.

Figure 1: AI-Cloud provides wildfire detection software-as-a-service

Big Tree’s missions are to protect abandoned animals, to provide them shelters and caretaking, and to advocate animal rights. They operate one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the city. More than 180 dogs and cats are living in the center.

The center is located in Kam Tin, a rural area in the New Territories, Hong Kong. The nearby area is one of the most wildfire risky locations in Hong Kong. In the late evening of Sunday, 25 October 2020, a wildfire ignited a day ago was spreading out and the fire front was just tens of meters away from the center! Big Tree was under the threat of burning into ashes!

Nearly 300 people heeded an online call for volunteers and rushed to rescue the animals in Big Tree! It was lucky that all animals were safe during the evacuation. That said, some animals suffered from incontinence and vomiting due to the heavy smoke.


Figure 2: Dunkirk! Hundreds of cars and citizens helped to evacuate 180 cats and dogs from the Big Tree Animal Center during a fierce wildfire in the midnight of 25-October-2020. Source: std.stheadline.com

Big Tree cannot rely on luck to respond to future incidents similar to what happened last October. After in-depth discussions, we understood their needs and constraints, and we proposed to Big Tree a customized RoboticsCats AI-Cloud solution to help them to early detect nearby wildfires. It is an easy-to-use software-as-a-service and they don’t need additional manpower to operate it.

Figure 3: the burn scar of the 25 October 2020 wildfire near Big Tree

Our proposal will use two network cameras to send 4K and HD videos to our AI-Cloud to detect wildfire smoke in the video images. If AI-Cloud detects wildfires, it will send alerts and smoke images to Big Tree staff. All they need is the ReportFires mobile app. They can take timely and informed action to save the animals when there is a wildfire near the center!

Figure 4: network cameras send video images to AI-Cloud over 5G/4G network

Unfortunately, Big Tree doesn’t have the budget to deploy our solution. Big Tree is a non-profit and relies on public donations to fund its operation. The center is not accessible, and it lacks common facilities. There is no landline broadband Internet service. Technology is neither available nor affordable to protect Big Tree from wildfires.

Fortunately, there is the Subsidy Scheme for Encouraging Early Deployment of 5G (the Scheme) launched by the Office of the Communication Authority (OFCA) of the Hong Kong government. There are good 5G services in the area of Big Tree. Big Tree applied for the Scheme to use 5G and our AI-Cloud solution. Their application was approved! They get subsidy to use latest 5G and AI technologies to mitigate wildfire risks.

Figure 5: The Scheme aims to encourage various sectors to deploy 5G technology early to foster innovation and smart city applications. Source: OFCA

Besides OFCA, special thanks are given to AXIS Communications, Netgear, Smartone Communications, and Armada International for their supports and suggestions! It is a team effort to provide the best and most affordable solution to Big Tree. It is a joyful project. The cats and dogs were very friendly and happy the day we installed the new system. Yes, we felt their joys!

Figure 6: PingAn Industrial team helped Big Tree to set up a new network

Do you want to help too? Please contact Big Tree at its website or Facebook page if you want to donate and support them.




“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 ESV

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