Mandai Wildlife Group and IMDA bolster digital transformation efforts with inaugural Mandai Co-innovation Programme
SINGAPORE, 25 August 2022 —Three companies have been selected to work on innovation problem statements to enhance animal welfare, elevate productivity, and the guest experience across Singapore’s wildlife parks. They emerged winners of the inaugural Mandai Co-Innovation Programme, jointly organised by Mandai Wildlife Group and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
The Programme is hosted on IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP) and, in being selected, Myrmidon Laboratories, Upcode and Trakomatic have secured a grand total of $150,000 in prize money. They will commence prototype development and be given the opportunity to demonstrate the desirability, feasibility, and viability of their solutions.
Belina Lee, Deputy CEO of Transformation & Growth at Mandai Wildlife Group, said: “Digital and technology solutions in animal care and wildlife precinct management are typically not as mature. As part of the Group’s digital transformation towards smart, integrated wildlife park experiences and operations at Mandai Wildlife Reserve, we started collaborating with IMDA to tap into the technology ecosystem for innovative solutions that would help enhance the welfare of the wildlife in our care, facilitate the distinct challenges of zoo operations, and unlock creative new ways for guests to experience our park. Spurred by the potential, we took the collaboration further and launched the Mandai Co-Innovation Programme to facilitate and accelerate the innovation process through crowdsourcing. This network will bring to bear more innovation opportunities and game-changing solutions that address our unique problem statements around animal care, sustainable operations, and immersive wildlife experiences.”
Mr Justin Ang, Assistant Chief Executive, Media, Innovation, Communications & Marketing, IMDA said, “IMDA believes that any and every organisation can tap digital innovation to transform and unlock new opportunities for business growth. This is why we are so pleased to have supported Mandai Wildlife Group in their innovation journey. OIP has been a key partner to the Group since June 2021, helping them to diagnose business challenges, define problem statements and crowdsource solutions. We hope to work with more forward-looking organisations such as Mandai Wildlife Group to develop their digital transformation roadmap together.”
OIP provides professional consultancy support to diagnose business challenges, define problem statements, and crowdsource solutions from 12,000 solution providers. For Mandai Wildlife Group, problem statements cover a range of needs from delivery of staff lunch across its wildlife parks to monitoring of animals’ behaviour and habitat enhancements. Briefs issued for the Mandai Co-Innovation Programme challenged innovators to develop solutions around smart animal cue systems that can monitor and understand an animal’s spatial preference for various activities such as resting and hunting. Data collected from the systems would be used to help the animal care team create microclimate conditions that the animals prefer, thereby promoting healthy animal activity that enhances their well-being and welfare. Another challenge issued through the programme includes creating a seamless and interactive guest journey in its parks – from bookings, payments to phygital1 experiences – through a hands-free digital asset. With Mandai Wildlife Reserve set to become a unique wildlife and nature destination, the challenge will be for the digital experience to complement, enhance and further enable the immersive physical wildlife experiences set in nature.
25 applicants responded to the three problem statements for the Mandai Co-Innovation Programme. The proposals were carefully evaluated based on criteria around solution fit, applicability and readiness. This Mandai Co-Innovation Programme will also see Amazon Web Services (AWS) come on board as the cloud computing platform provider, where the selected innovators will gain access to AWS’ ecosystem and support services.
Mandai Wildlife Group has been working closely with IMDA, leveraging the OIP to crowdsource solutions since June 2021. Over the last year, the organisation participated in three innovation calls on the national digital innovation platform, attracting 60 submissions which eventually led to promising results from three proof-of-concept developments. One of the projects addressed the management and maintenance of aviary meshing in its wildlife park, which is heavily reliant on manual inspections to detect breaches and may be prone to human error. With the average size of an aviary at 3,000sqm and 35m in height, there are inherent limitations from visual inspections which include not being able to examine the mesh beyond a certain height. Through OIP, Mandai Wildlife Group found an automated solution that uses a vibration sensor network to conduct inspections on the integrity of the aviary mesh and detect any possible breaches more accurately while reducing human error. The proposed solution is currently undergoing testing.
To date, OIP has facilitated challenges in sectors such as financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing, covering technologies such as AI, the Internet of Thing and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality. Organisations can visit openinnovation.sg to come on board to crowdsource for innovative solutions, as part of our quarterly call for business challenges.
Summary of 2022 Mandai Innovation Programme Challenge Briefs and Winners
|Smart In-Habitat Cue System
Winner: Myrmidon Laboratories
Smart Programming of In-Habitant Cue System and Remote Devices
1. How might we develop a smart in-habitat cue system that independently encourages behavioural diversity among predatory animals?
2. How might we curate and program an in-habitat cue system based on data of animals’ behaviour, response and preference for the Primate, Herbivore and Carnivore species?
Currently, our animal care team is heavily involved in curating and preparing enrichment activities that are carried out to provide mental and physical stimulation for the animals under their care. This can be time-consuming as it requires the team to actively develop new and creative enrichment. Mandai Wildlife Group is keen to leverage digital technologies to improve the development of these activities to further encourage natural animal behaviour while increasing staff productivity.
The Group is interested in optimising a smart-cue system solution would be able to fulfil the following:
- Monitor and understand the animals’ behaviour, activity and spatial preference, and in addition, promote healthy activity by stimulating each species’ natural interest and behaviours
- Be easily integrated with Smart Programming of In-Habitat Cue System and Remote Devices to allow an end-to-end solution for an integrated overview, monitoring and analysis of in-habitat cues, animal activity and well-being across the various parks. This should enable keepers to design enrichment programmes for individual animals effectively, and save the custom programming sequences, allowing keepers to easily activate ideal patterns of animal behaviour.
- An actionable dashboard that displays an overview of the animals’ behaviour, the state of the in-habitat cues, as well as how the animals are behaving based on the data sets captured through interactions among other animals or with designated activities to spur responses.
|Hands-Free Digital Access For a Seamless and Interactive Guest Experience
How might we provide guests with a smart, integrated wildlife park experience through a hands-free digital pass?
Mandai Wildlife Group is driving an exciting rejuvenation plan at Mandai Wildlife Reserve that will integrate five wildlife parks with distinctive nature-based experiences, green public spaces and an eco-friendly resort.
With new experiences coming on board, the Group sees the need for a hassle-free digital asset that would ensure a fuss-free and seamless visitor experience from admission to exit.
The Group is looking for a solution that would:
- Improve guests’ interaction, experience and exploration of the parks across the precinct by providing a means for hands-free access and navigation, scaling down the number of physical touchpoints and the hassle of ticketing.
- Features should include a smart payment system and itinerary recommendations, based on real-time park insights and individual guest interests and needs. In addition, the data gathered should help to optimise smart operations across the parks.