Save the Bees: How Printed Electronics supports the Rescue of Bees
The internal SAP project "Save the Bees" is taking action against bee mortality with the support of InnovationLab GmbH
With printed sensors, the activities of individual beehives are recorded and made available via a mobile app
Automatic alerts inform beekeepers directly about any deviations
At first glance, internet of things, clouds, apps, and bees do not have much in common. But with the internal project "Save the Bees", SAP employees - with the support of InnovationLab - want to counteract the bee mortality with new technology.
Acting on behalf of the bees
For years, researchers worldwide have observed a decline in the bee population. Pesticides, monocultures, deteriorating food conditions and diseases are responsible for the fact that the honeybee population in Germany has declined by almost a third in recent years and continues to dwindle. Some SAP employees, as well as some amateur beekeepers among them, attended to the problem of bee mortality and initiated the internal project "Save the Bees". Many employees from different locations, such as Heidelberg, Berlin, Walldorf and St. Leon-Rot, are already part of this project and work on various ideas and solutions in their free time. In cooperation with the local Beekeeping Association, the first beehives were positioned on the SAP company campus St. Ingbert in autumn 2018.
In order to generate data on the bee populations, through which important information or warnings can be forwarded to beekeepers via app, the project participants are currently developing a system for monitoring bee populations. With the aid of sensors, it is planned to measure temperature, humidity, hive weight and the bee activity. These data should then provide information about the relationship between the various factors and the changes in the bee population.
In the next project phase, the beehives will be equipped with printed sensors. Thus, possible solutions can be developed to counteract the bee mortality. These sensors are supplied by InnovationLab GmbH in Heidelberg, which specializes among other aspects in flexible printed sensors in the field of printed electronics.
All data ar transmitted to the cloud via LoRa WAN, a network protocol. LoRa WAN enables the networking of things with the Internet with low energy consumption even over longer ranges. The data are evaluated and can be obtained by the beekeepers later via a mobile app at any time. In case of deviations, the system automatically sends warning or danger messages to the beekeeper.
Other institutions and schools are to be involved in the project in a long-term planning to make the nature and species protection more vivid to children.