Marine Institute Ireland

Putting real-time data to work and providing a platform for technology development

Published on 15-Dec-2010

Validated on 16 Dec 2013

"The immediate benefits of SmartBay, whether it’s helping and supporting industrial development or promoting marine safety, are tangible, direct and worthwhile." - John Gaughan, project coordinator, SmartBay

Customer:
The Marine Institute

Industry:
Life Sciences

Deployment country:
Ireland

Solution:
Big Data, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Operations/Fraud/Threats, Smart Work, Smarter Planet, Green/Sustainability

Smarter Planet:
Smarter Water

Overview

The Marine Institute Ireland, seeking to gain more value from its existing SmartBay environmental monitoring project, worked with IBM to develop a Web-enabled data warehouse that provides a broad range of benefits, from safer navigation to flood warnings and much more.

Business need:
The Marine Institute sought to establish SmartBay as a research, test and demonstration platform for new environmental technologies—paving the way to commercialization and the development of new markets for Irish-based companies.

Solution:
The Institute, working with IBM, developed a pilot information system to feed environmental data into a data warehouse, where it is processed, analyzed and displayed in new ways.

Results:
The project yields greater insight into the bay environment, as well as providing practical value—from understanding how water quality impacts fisheries to predicting hazard locations and more.

Benefits:
- Enables the creation of a vast array of diverse applications that goes far beyond the original purpose of the project, from technical research to tourism promotion - Real-time access via the web delivers valuable insight quickly to remote users - Open architecture enables new applications to be brought on line easily, combining data from both SmartBay sensors and other sources, such as geographical information systems - Add-on effect of the project promotes education and stimulates economic development in the Irish economy

Case Study

Smart is...

The project yields greater insight into the bay environment, as well as providing practical value—from understanding how water quality impacts fisheries to predicting hazard locations and more.

Business Benefits

  • Enables the creation of a vast array of diverse applications that goes far beyond the original purpose of the project, from technical research to tourism promotion.
  • Real-time access via the web delivers valuable insight quickly to remote users
  • Open architecture enables new applications to be brought on line easily, combining data from both SmartBay sensors and other sources, such as geographical information systems
  • Add-on effect of the project promotes education and stimulates economic development in the Irish economy

Solution Components

Software
    • IBM DB2® Alphablox® v9.5
    • IBM DB2 Enterprise Server Edition v9.5
    • IBM InfoSphere™ Streams
    • IBM WebSphere® Application Server v6.1
    • IBM WebSphere MQ v5
    • IBM WebSphere Sensor Events
    • IBM WebSphere Portal Server v6.1
Servers
  • IBM System x® 3950

Services
  • IBM Global Business Services

Smarter water: Creating new value from environmental data
  • Instrumented - Sensors deployed on buoys in Galway Bay transmit key data on ocean conditions and water quality.
  • Interconnected - Sensor data is fed into a central data warehouse for aggregation and processing, and can be accessed by diverse groups using customized web applications to generate targeted value.
  • Intelligent - Combining real-time data with a flexible technology platform creates near-limitless new uses for information—from environmental research to predictive monitoring, technology validation and much more.

When sensors become pervasive, entirely new and unexpected uses for the flood of information they produce often arise, yielding benefits far beyond those originally envisioned. Seeing the world in a new way—via technology—generates an inventive spark, prompting people to devise new uses for information that they may never have considered before.

That’s exactly what is happening in Ireland’s Galway Bay, as part of the SmartBay project initiated by the Marine Institute Ireland. In support of its advanced technology platform, which seeks to make Ireland a major player in the development of smart ocean technologies, the project’s initial purpose was to develop a platform for testing environmental monitoring technologies, and the idea was simple: Deploy a series of radio-equipped “smart buoys” in the bay containing sensors that could collect data such as sea state (wave height and action) and other weather conditions, water data such as salinity, and similar environmental information.

A basis for economic transformation

When the Marine Institute learned of the IBM Big Green Innovations initiative to find ways to use technology to promote and enable environmental science, the idea of a collaboration on the SmartBay project was born. The IBM Advanced Water Management Centre Dublin built upon the domain expertise of the Marine Institute, complimenting it with its deep computing intelligence.

While the synergy with the IBM Smarter Planet™ strategy’s drive towards Smart Green technology was clear, the real impetus behind the decision to expand SmartBay is largely economic. Beginning in the 1990s, the Irish economy became a global growth powerhouse. Wise policy decisions and forward-thinking investment had transformed Ireland into a manufacturing phenomenon.

More recently, with the global economy encountering difficulty, Ireland’s prosperity began to wane. The government saw the need to change course, moving the country towards a knowledge-based economy. Investment in projects that showcase Ireland as a technological leader would not only create new commercial opportunities, attract talent and additional capital investment, but also prompt a new generation of Irish citizens to pursue careers in knowledge-based industries.

Taking SmartBay to a new level

The Marine Institute, working in conjunction with government agencies, research institutions and the private sector, is working together to leverage the significant R+D capacity that exists in Ireland to help drive economic development. There is clear potential to expand SmartBay into an international platform demonstrating new approaches to environmental challenges and delivering new technological solutions for a range of global markets.

IBM is working with the Marine Institute to speed the process of innovation, starting with an assessment of existing capabilities. The team saw that if the data could be centralized, processed and accessed in the right way, it could become far more useful—the information already available could be turned into intelligence and put to work to create real practical value that impacts the lives of citizens directly.

IBM designed and deployed an enterprise-scale data warehouse using IBM InfoSphere™ Warehouse, that is connected to the SmartBay sensors, as well as external sources such as mapping databases and sensors beyond the bay. An open-standards application layer processes and analyzes the data in a variety of ways, making it available via a Web interface enabled by IBM WebSphere® Portal and WebSphere Application Server. Additional WebSphere products, including WebSphere MQ and WebSphere Sensor Events, provide a key middleware layer that integrates the sensors with the data warehouse. To ensure reliability and scalability, the system is housed on IBM System x® 3950 servers.

The system design makes it easy to combine data from the sensors with other online databases—such as geographical information—as needed to create new functionality. Rapid development, enabled by IBM DB2® Alphablox® is an important feature, giving project managers the ability to deploy new applications quickly and easily.

The project yields greater insight into the bay environment and can provide real-time information feeds to a range of stakeholders, while at the same time enabling commercial technology developers to test new environmental product and service offerings. The project is now moving into a new phase, with higher bandwidth and powered cabled sensors being deployed that will enable more information to be gathered. IBM is also working with Irish-based companies on an advanced initiative to add stream (i.e., real-time) computing capabilities to the project, with the goal of increasing its capacity utilizing the real-time analytical processing capacity of InfoSphere Streams.

Applications limited only by imagination

As the IBM and Marine Institute team began to map out the possibilities for delivering information and services via the SmartBay portal, more and more potential new uses began to spring up. Stakeholders—the harbormaster, fishermen, researchers, tourism officials and others—were all part of the brainstorming process. The SmartBay vision was quickly expanding far beyond its initial goals.

The variety of applications either deployed or under consideration for SmartBay is strong testament to the power of creative thinking enabled by the right technological tools. The critical element is the ability to analyze, process and present the data in a useful form, tailored to the needs of specific users.

For example:
  • Technology developers can conduct a variety of sophisticated studies remotely and in near real time, instead of retroactively. Climate researchers, using sensors on land paired with sensors in the bay, can learn about the exchange of CO2 across the land-sea interface, and marine biologists can use acoustic sensors deployed throughout the bay to assess marine mammal populations.
  • Alternative energy developers can access real-time wave data and use it to determine the effectiveness of prototype wave-energy generators, and developers of new sensor technologies can deploy prototypes on the buoys to find out how well the hardware holds up in a harsh marine environment, with continuous monitoring.
  • The project can also promote commercial interests. Fishermen can use environmental data to tell them when to put to sea. Fishery managers can monitor and track water quality issues, gaining a comprehensive view of actual conditions throughout the bay.
  • Applications developed as part of the SmartBay project can also help increase public safety. Mariners who spot floating objects that pose a hazard to navigation can report the location, and the system will combine this information with geographic data, real-time weather, current, and tide data to predict the path and position of the hazard hours in advance. Collaboration with the Galway harbormaster has also enabled the creation of an expert system based on human expertise that can issue flood warnings more promptly and accurately than he can himself, based on real-time weather, sea state and tidal information.

Gaughan says the project provides a positive benefit in many areas. "The immediate benefits of SmartBay, whether it’s helping and supporting industrial development or promoting marine safety, are tangible, direct and worthwhile."

For more information
To learn more about how IBM can help you transform your business, please contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner.

Visit us at:
ibm.com/government

ibm.com/smarterplanet/water

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System x: System x3950 M2

Software:
WebSphere Portal Server, WebSphere Sensor Events, DB2 Alphablox, InfoSphere Streams, WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Application Server, DB2 Enterprise Server Edition

Service:
IBM Global Business Services

Footnotes and legal information

ODC03150-USEN-00

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2010 IBM Corporation 1 New Orchard Road Armonk, NY 10504 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America November 2010 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Let's Build A Smarter Planet, the planet icons, AlphaBlox, DB2, Global Business Services, InfoSphere, System x and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This case study illustrates how one IBM customer uses IBM products. There is no guarantee of comparable results. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates.