Technology companies go to villages to empower people, protect forests. As the majority of technology companies open up offices in Jakarta to tap into the growing middle class, several other companies are taking a different approach, instead heading to villages to empower villagers through digital technology while helping to monitor forests in the process.
Internet service provider PT Telekomunikasi Desa Indonesia (TDI) and technology startup Rainforest Connection are among such companies.
The newly established TDI is cooperating with village-owned enterprises in West Sumatra to provide local enterprises with new business, enabling locals to provide internet services for their communities.
TDI president director Teddy Tri Cahyono said the company had teamed up with village-owned enterprises in Tabek Patah and Pakan Rabaa Timur villages in Tanah Datar regency, West Sumatra, to provide villagers with internet.
“One of our solutions is to provide connectivity [in the form of internet access] through the installation of VSAT [very small aperture terminal] antennae and access points spread across the villages,” Teddy told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Teddy said the village-owned enterprises had to buy satellite devices to act as internet service providers for local residents, who had to subscribe to be able to connect to the internet.
“When we talk about Industry 4.0, it means nothing if there is no internet connection. We are hoping that we can promote digital literacy for villagers because it could be an opportunity for them to develop their potentials,” he said.
The company was currently seeking wider collaboration with village-owned enterprises in Lampung, West Nusa Tenggara and North Kalimantan, Tedi added.
Meanwhile, in a bid to empower local communities in protecting West Sumatra’s rainforests, a nonprofit technology startup, Rainforest Connection, is utilizing Google artificial intelligence (AI) technology called TensorFlow to help monitor the rainforests.
The tool, named The Guardian, can capture sounds in the forest and send them to forest rangers’ smartphones through the Rainforest Connection mobile application.
Rainforest Connection founder and CEO Topher White explained that the tool was quite simple. “The Guardian is a box containing a battery, used cellphone, voice recorder and solar panel. To operate this equipment, we put it on top of the trees, which allows them to record voices using its microphone and send it directly to the cloud using TensorFlow,” Topher said in a statement.
Once the audio is in the cloud, TensorFlow will analyze all the data in real-time and listen for chainsaws, logging trucks and other sounds of illegal activity that can help local patrol officers pinpoint problems in the forest, said Google Indonesia spokesperson Jason Tedjasukmana.
“We believe that AI can help solve some of the most difficult social and environmental challenges of our time, in areas like environmental conservation,” Jason told the Post.
Collaborating with environmental group Warsi Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI Warsi), Rainforest Connection installed 12 monitoring tools in four villages in West Sumatra, namely Sirukam, Pakan Rabaa Timur, Pakan Rabaa and Pasir Palang Timur. Three monitoring tools were installed in three different spots in each village.
“Without the help of machine learning, this process would be impossible,” said Jason.
Separately, Innovator 4.0, a newly established social movement group, called on other technology-related companies to promote digital literacy in rural areas.
Innovator 4.0 chairman Budiman Sudjatmiko, who is also a member of parliament from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), told the Jakarta Post on Wednesday that villagers should be taught how to use the internet and digital applications so that they could benefit from the advancement of technology to improve their livelihood. With such digital capability, they could conduct business through online marketplaces, he added.
Budiman said technology improvement could support village economies, adding that village funds could be used to realize technology-driven economic growth.
“We want village communities to have technology and entrepreneurship awareness. Village-owned enterprises could become big data companies in the future,” Budiman said. Technology companies go to villages to empower people, protect forests (awa/hen, The Jakarta Post)