The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) turned to innovative technology to assist landowners with controlling wild hogs — a costly nuisance for state residents and a danger to the environment. Frequent trap visits by wildlife officers to monitor hog activity is the most costly phase of the TWRA's control efforts. Live streaming video enables wildlife officers to watch hogs enter the trap and release the trap door remotely.
"We believe this system can significantly reduce our labor costs associated with our trapping efforts," said Richard Kirk, middle Tennessee wildlife program manager.
Nationally, wild hogs cause $1.5 billion in damage each year to agriculture, wildlife habitats and waterways. The Tennessee Wildlife Federation describes the wild hog as “Tennessee's single most destructive animal.” Two years ago the TWRA began intensively working statewide on public land and assisting private landowners to address the loss of habitat and crop damage these animals can cause.
In an effort to more efficiently combat the problem, Verizon introduced TWRA to business partner IC Realtime, a southeastern-based mobile video and security company to reduce the number of man-hours needed to monitor and trap wild hogs. IC Realtime created HogWatch, an HD video solution that monitors hog traps 24 hours a day. This new system is machine-to-machine technology, meaning it’s a device that constantly communicates data or video over Verizon's cellular network.
“The 4G LTE network allows these types of machine-to-machine solutions to be developed. Before Verizon deployed 4G LTE in 2010, no data service had the speed to transmit live HD video from remote areas. Verizon is proud that our network is able to assist the Tennessee Wildlife Agency in better controlling menacing hogs while saving taxpayers money,” said Jerry Fountain, Verizon Wireless Carolinas/Tennessee region president.
Additionally, the system uses solar panels to fuel cameras and transmits video back to agency computers or smartphones over Verizon's 4G LTE data network. Utilizing solar power to maintain batteries makes the system virtually maintenance free, further reducing costs. Officers can conveniently monitor and activate the trap using their smartphones, freeing them to perform others duties.