Big Blue Helps Emerald Isle Be Greener

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IBM is lending its technical help to a cloud computing project to monitor marine pollution in Ireland

Computing giant IBM has completed a pilot project with Irish authorities to help monitor pollution levels and other environmental conditions in Galway Bay.

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In a statement released this week, IBM said the SmartBay project – which uses so-called cloud computing services – in cooperation with the Marine Institute Ireland will deliver “real-time advanced analytics” to help develop smarter environmental management techniques.

Although the project is only at pilot stage currently, the organisations behind it claim the eventual aim is to develop a network of sensors and computer infrastructure across Galway Bay in Western Ireland to help monitor information on coastal conditions, pollution levels and marine life.

“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,” said Peter Heffernan, chief executive of Marine Institute Ireland.

IBM claims the monitoring services will be made available via the cloud. The company aims to develop a hosted SmartBay information portal to give researchers access to environmental data.

“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,” said Dr. Harry Kolar, IBM chief IT architect for SmartBay.

The SmartBay pilot project could also be used by fishermen to 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, the company claims.

Public Health monitoring agencies and laboratories that study water quality could also use SmartBay’s sensor technologies for pollution monitoring, IBM said.

IBM is involving itself in numerous green and sustainable energy projects worldwide. The company recently announced its involvement in the Edison research group based in Denmark to tackle the supply issues thrown up by large numbers of electric vehicles being connected to grid fed by renewable energy.