Google Launches Second Global Impact Challenge with £3.2 Million Prize PotIBTimes UK

Using money it won in the inaugural Global Impact Challenge in 2013, a team of four people at London Zoo is now ready to deploy a system of high-tech cameras which will help protect endangered rhinos in Kenya from gangs of armed poachers.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) was among four winners of £500,000 in the first year the Challenge was run, winning the public vote award. The groups said at the launch of the second running of the challenge this week, that without the money it could never have gotten its project as far as it has.

"The Impact award helped us achieve our vision and our dream. We knew what we wanted to do in the field but we didn't have the support to do it. Once we won the award we worked with Google to develop the prototype camera trap," Alasdair Davies, technichal advisor at ZSL said.

ZSL Anti-Poaching Camera

This summer, 100 of these motion-detecting cameras will be installed in the Tsavo West National Park in Kenya and will be camouflaged so as not to attract the attention of the animals or the poachers.

The system is motion-activated so when an animal or poacher passes in front of the camera, it takes a picture and sends it back to the rangers who are charged with protecting the wildlife in Kenya.

The group are in talks with up to 40 different organisations around the world about using this unique system which has the potential to significantly impact on the problem of poaching.

An adapted version is also being used to monitor the penguin population in the Antartic, taking one picture every four hours and sending it back to researchers monitoring the birds.

Tackle tough problems and transform lives

The Global Impact Challenge invites UK charities to come up with innovative ideas which leverage technology to help tackle "the world's toughest problems and transform lives."

Peter Jones and Jimmy Wales Launch Google's Second Global Impact Challenge
Peter Jones and Jimmy Wales holding one of the nodes which will be deployed in Kenya this summer to help track poachers.IBTimes UK

The second running of the Global Impact Challenge will once again see four winners announced at the end of July, each taking home £500,000 in prize money as well as mentoring from Google.

There will also be six runner-up prizes of £200,000 bringing the total prize pot to £3.2 million.

This year's judging panel is made up of Dragons' Den star Peter Jones CBE; founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales and director of Red Nose Day Emma Freud. Once again the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite project from a list of finalists, with the fans' favourite again guaranteed to win one of the top prizes.

Speaking at the launch of the Challenge in London Zoo this week, Peter Jones encouraged all UK charities to get involved and to show some blue-sky thinking:

"The successful businesses I like to invest in create impact through vision and ambition. If we can see some of these qualities in these Challenge entries, the results could be massive. I've always said that if you're going to dream, then dream big."

Peter Jones and Jimmy Wales Launch Google's Second Global Impact Challenge
Dragon's Den star Peter Jones and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launch Google's second Global Impact Challenge at London Zoo, alongside one of the zoo's star attractions.IBTimes UK

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said charities should look to harness the "unprecedented power of technology" to achieve their aims.

UK-based charities have until 6 June to submit proposals for this year's awards, which they can do here.

First launched in the UK last year, Google has since held Impact Challenges in India, Brazil and the San Francisco Bay Area, investing more than £10m in the project.