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Major Data Company Promotes Better Bee Health by Advanced Analytics

May 20, 2020

This is amazing.

Bee Colony Collapse, Honey Bees

SAS is a data company that claims to want to solve the world’s biggest problems using analytics. Included in the company’s most recent work is using data to try to solve the dilemma of the honey bee. The company has taken a rather unique approach, using tools such as IoT (Internet of Things) and machine learning to help support and maintain healthy honey bee populations.

The organization recently highlighted several different areas of the honey bees existence that it is monitoring and tracking around the globe:

  1. Monitoring real-time conditions of beehives with noninvasive techniques
  2. Visualizing world bee population data
  3. Decoding bee communications

Oliver Schabenberger, COO and CTO of SAS, stated, "SAS has always looked for ways to use technology for a better world. By applying advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to beehive health, we have a better shot as a society to secure this critically important part of our ecosystem and, ultimately, our food supply."

Monitoring Beehive Health

To monitor the hives and to do so in a non-invasive way, SAS is working to develop a bioacoustics monitoring system. The new software that is part of this effort will help beekeepers to better predict problems that could lead to massive deaths within the colony. These are problems the beekeepers would not normally be able to detect.

Anya McGuirk, Distinguished Research Statistician Developer in the IoT division at SAS, stated, "As a beekeeper myself, I know the magnitude of bees' impact on our ecosystem, and I'm inspired to find innovative ways to raise healthier bees to benefit us all. And as a SAS employee, I'm proud to have conducted this experiment with SAS software at our very own campus beehives, demonstrating both the power of our analytical capabilities and our commitment to innovation and sustainability."

Visualizing Honey Bee Populations

The new map will allow visualization of the worldwide bee population. This part of the project is being done in conjunction with Appalachian State University’s Center Analytics Research and Education (CARE). Joseph Cazier, Professor and Executive Director at Appalachian State University's CARE, stated, "The World Bee Count allows us to crowdsource bee data to both visualize our planet's bee population and create one of the largest, most informative data sets about bees to date. SAS' data visualization will show the crowdsourced location of bees and other pollinators. In a later phase of the project, researchers can overlay key data points like crop yield, precipitation, and other contributing factors of bee health, gathering a more comprehensive understanding of our world's pollinators."

Decoding Bee Communications

Researches are also going to use machine learning to be able to decode the bee language to maximize honey bees access to food. For the most part, we know bees communication through different body movements, which is what this study seems to be focused on. Kjetil Kalager, lead of the Amesto NextBridge and Beefutures team, stated, "Observing all of these dances manually is virtually impossible, but by using video footage from inside the hives and training machine learning algorithms to decode the dance, we will be able to better understand where bees are finding food. We implemented this information, along with hive coordinates, sun angle, time of day, and agriculture around the hives into an interactive map in SAS Viya and then beekeepers can easily decode this hive information and relocate to better-suited environments if necessary."

Source: Watanga Democrat

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