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Tēnaka teams with Orange Business to scale coral reef restoration

Enterprise services arm of global telco looks to allow social business to undertake digital transformation, as well as automate and scale coral reef and marine biodiversity monitoring

Social business Tēnaka has a core mission to restore and protect marine ecosystems worldwide, and to improve its operations in a marine-protected area of the coral triangle in Malaysia, the company has entered into a partnership with Orange Business to scale coral reef restoration.

Tēnaka’s coral reef restoration helps protect and preserve critically important and endangered wildlife while supporting the economic independence of coastal communities in terms of food security and employment linked to tourism and fisheries. For Tēnaka, measuring its positive impact is the cornerstone of its model.

To this end, for its Let’s Revive programme, Tēnaka uses an online portal to share monthly data on the evolution of the coral ecosystems it restores, namely in terms of marine biodiversity.

Currently, to collect this data, Tēnaka’s field marine biologists need to dive in the restored areas and go through a visual identification and quantification of fish (butterfly fish, parrotfish…), invertebrates (giant clams, sea urchins…) and megafauna (sharks, turtles and rays). Once they return to land, the data is loaded manually into the Tēnaka Science portal.

Through the firms’ partnership, Orange Business said it will be accelerating Tēnaka’s digital transformation, making day-to-day operations more efficient. It will be providing Tēnaka’s access to fully automated data sets, from collection to visualisation, using AI-based data analysis. As well as enhancing the capabilities of Tēnaka’s operations, the near real-time, data-driven approach is designed to increase knowledge around restored coral ecosystems.

Data and images will now be delivered directly to scientists ashore, which means researchers will be able to access 24/7 data and spend more time restoring degrading coral reefs.

The project is enabled by a Yucca lab marine research station composed of an underwater monitoring device with waterproof 360° cameras attached to a solar-powered floating buoy with processing and transmission capabilities.

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The research station connects to the local 4G mobile network with an Orange Business SIM card. This connection transfers images daily to a Microsoft Azure tenant managed by Orange Business.

The data transfer is secured by Orange Cyberdefense using Netskope SSE technology and NewEdge infrastructure. Once in the cloud, an AI algorithm developed by Orange Business analyses the images. This algorithm automatically recognises and quantifies various species of fish, invertebrates and megafauna in the reefs.

“Regenerating the ocean is the best solution we have to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crisis,” said Tēnaka founder Anne-Sophie Roux. “By leveraging technology, Orange Business brings critical expertise for us to scale our operations and reach a global impact.”

In the first quarter of 2024, Orange Business expects to finalise the first prototype of the research station by testing its underwater module in the Mediterranean Sea, together with all of the solution elements already developed.

Immediately after, Orange Business will start two workstreams: the second prototype of the research station, designed to add additional features needed in the production environment, and a data visualisation project, intended to allow for the output of the AI algorithm to be visualised within Tenaka Science.

Orange Business expects to bring the research station to Malaysia by the summer of 2024, to be tested in the production environment. This will allow the company to test the AI algorithm with real onsite pictures of Malaysian biodiversity.

Partner ecosystem

Orange Business will also be tapping its partner ecosystem. Netskope’s For Good programme is providing the security platform and design, while Microsoft provides free-of-charge Azure credits as part of its Startups Founders Hub programme.

“We wanted to be part of the solution for an environmental challenge,” said Orange Business international CEO Kristof Symons. “Our employees worldwide support Tēnaka for its inspiring initiative in preserving and rehabilitating coral ecosystems – and one where our technology and digital services can really make a difference to create a positive impact.”

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