Birth of Appiko

The motivation behind this project

Appiko is currently a project that aims to become a company that develops technology to assist wildlife conservation and research. The inspiration for the name Appiko comes from the Appiko Movement, a movement to conserve forests by hugging trees. Appiko in Kannada means hugging or embracing, which is needed increasingly both as an idea and gesture.

The technology currently used in this domain is years, even decades, behind the technology present in everyday consumer devices. While this article will not get into the details of how technology is currently used in wildlife conservation and research, here are some examples.

Kunti, an elephant of the Aane Mane foundation with a tracking collar (Photo: Bharat Patil)
Mira, an Amur the tigress photographed by a camera trap in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve (Photo: The Amur Tiger Program)
Picture of an orangutan nests taken by cameras on board Conservation Drones (Photo: Lian Pin Koh)

Start with a for-profit model

Appiko would be set up as a for-profit organization in the difficult realm of wildlife conservation where the products/services can neither have high margins or be sold in huge quantities. Just because this is the easiest way to start and get the ball rolling in a lean way leading to fast iterative cycles of development and customer interaction. The idea is to let the business model innovation happen along the way, not forcefully conceive one at the beginning and stick with it.

Everything’s Open Source

Appiko aims to make all the technology developed free and open source from the get-go. The reasons for this are:

  • There are not enough people working in this space, the more competitors, copiers and collaborators the better.
  • Entropy is not on our side. While we forgot (arguably) how to go to the moon, the tech developed by Appiko shouldn’t be lost.
  • Anyone else using the technology developed by Appiko in any other domain is welcome to do so, with the hope that any bug-fixes and improvements are relayed back.

First product

The first product that Appiko would be working on is a motion detection based camera triggering unit. This primary reason is that this is a product that would have a wider range of customers as compared to other technology for wildlife conservation and research. The aim is to use this as a stepping stone for this venture. More details of this product will be posted in the upcoming posts.

Finally, to conclude this post, the whole idea of Appiko is based on the conviction that firstly, there is little-sustained seepage of bleeding edge technology into wildlife conservation and research. Secondly, that people involved in wildlife conservation and research would warm up to and utilize newer, improved and intuitive technology. These convictions, which are actually the assumptions based on which Appiko is started need to be validated.