April 14, 2014
IBM Canada Ltd. today announced it is collaborating with Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) on a three-year, multi-million dollar project to equip British Columbia with a monitoring and prediction system to respond to off-shore accidents, tsunamis and other natural disasters.
The new “Smart OceansBC” program will use marine sensors and data analysis to enhance environmental stewardship and public and marine safety along Canada’s West coast, IBM said.
The initiative will monitor vessel traffic, waves, currents and water quality in major shipping arteries and will include a system to predict the impact of off-shore earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surge, and underwater landslides.
ONC, which is the University of Victoria’s largest research project, operates ones of the world’s most advanced cabled ocean observatories off B.C.’s coast.
IBM said it is investing $12 million in cloud computing infrastructure, analytics software, services and skills training to support this next phase of the system.
Western Economic Diversification is also contributing funding to bring online a number of additional underwater observatories and high frequency coastal radars.
ONC will use an IBM, on-premise cloud to run simulations on earthquakes and tsunamis with a goal of predicting their behaviour and potential impact on coastal areas. According to IBM, this information will benefit a broad spectrum of audiences from public safety agencies to public transportation, tourism, and other industries operating in the area.
Researchers will also employ a suite of IBM visual analytics, data streams processing, machine learning and data exploration software to develop, test and run decision-support systems with commercial viability that could aid industrial and governmental agencies in sea state, pollution monitoring, spill response and other aspects of ocean management, the release stated.
ONC estimates the global market for smart oceans systems technology will grow from $4 billion to at least $6 billion by 2020.
As part of the agreement, IBM and ONC will also establish a Virtual Compute Lab for remote First Nations communities. The system will let First Nations people use any connected device to access a range of ONC and university curriculum in their own community via the Internet, allowing them to attend university without having to physically relocate to a campus.