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IBM and Marine Institute Ireland Netting Results in Galway’s "SmartBay" Project


DUBLIN, IRELAND - 16 Mar 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Marine Institute Ireland have completed the SmartBay pilot information system to monitor wave conditions, marine life and pollution levels in and around Galway Bay. This real-time advanced analytics pilot is turning mountains of data into intelligence, paving the way for smarter environmental management and development of the bay.

The vision for SmartBay is a marine research infrastructure of sensors and computational technology interconnected across Galway Bay collecting and distributing information on coastal conditions, pollution levels and marine life. The monitoring services, delivered via the web and other devices, benefits tourism, fishing, aquaculture and the environment. 

The pilot, which includes a move from manual to instrumented data gathering, will allow researchers to deploy quicker reactions to the critical challenges of the bay such as pollution, flooding, fishing stock levels, green energy generation and the threats from climate change. 

“This collaboration between IBM and The Marine Institute is vitally important to a mind shift in the way we view our marine sector in terms of economic opportunities through the application of knowledge,” said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute Ireland. “Never before has there been a way of doing large scale marine environment research that allows us to observe ecological phenomena at multiple levels at once. IBM’s real-time monitoring technologies, data analytics and next generation content delivery on SmartBay allow us to do that.”

He continued “SmartBay offers a significant new opportunity for Irish industry to create new businesses for Irish technology companies as well as enhancing the viability of the seafood, shipping and water monitoring sectors.”

SmartBay will help to reduce the time delay to acquire data used in the complex testing of wave energy converter prototypes for green electricity generation. This brings wave generated electricity a step closer to reality and supports Sustainable Energy Ireland programmes. 

With the SmartBay pilot project, commercial fishermen are able to share information about problems such as floating physical hazards and instantly raise an alarm to the Harbour Master. This system alert triggers SmartBay to track, in near real-time and predict over-24-hours, the location of the floating hazard. 

The SmartBay pilot project can also be used to demonstrate novel applications whereby fishermen can directly report their catch, destination, and estimated arrival time to fish-markets on land, via simple text messaging from mobile phones or onboard internet connections.

Public Health monitoring agencies and laboratories that study water quality are also analysing SmartBay's new sensor technologies for pollution monitoring.

Utilising the SmartBay information portal, researchers have access to environmental data that is readily accessible, useable and in near real-time direct on their desktop anywhere in the world via an internet connection. 

SmartBay is being developed using Cloud computing, an emerging approach to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT services.

The SmartBay project sees IBM and the Marine Institute working directly with Galway Bay’s Harbour Master and commercial fishermen, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Environmental Protection Agency, the Irish Water Safety Council, The Hydraulics & Maritime Research Centre at University College Cork, and the Industrial Development Agency(IDA) Ireland. Key academic institutions in this research collaboration include Dublin City University, University College Dublin, and the Tyndall National Institute in Cork to develop smarter water management systems.

Commenting on the research project Dr. Harry Kolar, IBM Chief IT Architect for SmartBay said “Our successful demonstration of the first phase of SmartBay completes the first major milestone on our project and is a significant achievement in a very short space of time. The Marine Institute and our stakeholders can now access, visualise and analyse a broad range of data related to Galway Bay. We look forward to the further development of SmartBay into a pioneering technological tool for the advancement of Marine Science and environmental resource management and smarter businesses related to the maritime sector.”

In June, 2008 IBM announced the establishment of an IBM Centre of Excellence for Water Management in Dublin with the support of IDA Ireland. The Centre focuses primarily on innovative research and services for monitoring, managing and forecasting environmental challenges such as the movement of pollutants in fresh water, marine and oceanic environments.

Earlier in 2008, IBM established a Centre of Excellence for Water Management in Amsterdam where the primary focus is on flood management and levee systems. In 2007, IBM announced with The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries in New York a collaborative development of the River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON), creating a technology-based monitoring and forecasting network for the Hudson River and estuary system.

Marine Institute Ireland 
For more information about Marine Institute Ireland visit http://www.marine.ie 

IBM Software Used in the SmartBay System:
Alphablox, DB2 Enterprise Server Edition, WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Portal Server, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Premises Server, WebSphere Application Server, DB2 UDB, WebSphere MQ, J9 Java Virtual Machine (Java 2), Lotus Expeditor Microbroker, Rational Application Developer.

Contact(s) information

Jim O’Keeffe
IBM Media Relations
+353 1 815 4124
+353 86 8542054
okeeffej@ie.ibm.com

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