Today, Wednesday November 17th, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Mr. Eamon Ryan T.D., officially launched the wireless infrastructure component of SmartBay, the National Facility for Research, Test and Demonstration of Emerging Marine ICT and Environmental Technologies.
(left to right: Dr. Peter Heffernan, Minister Ryan and Dr. Martin Curley at the launch event in Dublin today)
SmartBay, a flagship project, is being advanced as a major innovation platform under the SmartOcean Strategy. This strategy aims to facilitate the convergence of expertise in areas in which Ireland has a strong and internationally recognised capabilities (e.g. informatics, communications, sensors, software, control systems, mechanical engineering and materials science) and link these with traditionally strong marine science expertise to enable Irish companies to deliver new products and services for global export markets.
The wireless communication infrastructure component of the project, which is led by Intel, was launched at the at the Globe Forum Dublin 2010 event at the Convention Centre, Dublin. The advanced Marine Wireless Network that Intel has deployed is a key component of the project ecosystem and is already enabling the development of new innovative ICT based products and services.
Speaking at the event Minister Ryan commented that “Projects such as this one are an important example of innovative partnerships focused on next generation research that will underpin our development as a Smart Economy. SmartBay is one of the six action areas identified in the ‘Technology Actions to Support the Smart Economy’ strategy and earlier this year the government approved a €3.8m award over a five year period to support the operation of the facility. Additional investments, such as that made by Intel in establishing the Wireless Communications backbone for SmartBay, demonstrate a major commitment by industry to collaborate with government and academia in order to drive innovation”.
The contribution of the WiMax high speed data network to SmartBay is significant in that it provides the platform for a wide range of new technologies to be developed and tested from early warning systems for pollution or naturally occurring toxins, to control and management systems for ocean energy devices, detection and surveillance systems (physical and biological) to monitoring systems that can detect long term shifts in ocean conditions that may be induced by global climate change.
“The need to understand, manage and develop our oceans in a sustainable manner has never been greater and increasingly requires accurate and timely information on climate, weather, water, ecosystems, biodiversity, energy resources, and natural/man induced disasters”, said Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute. “Technology has a key role to play in the provision of this information and to underpinning the development of new commercial opportunities associated with our global marine resources”.
Also speaking at the launch Dr. Martin Curley, Director of Intel Labs Europe, commented that “the Smartbay Wireless Communications Infrastructure, based on WiMax technology, will be a powerful, smart infrastructure system which will serve as a platform for emergence and derivative innovation. It is a great example of triple helix innovation where industry, government and academia work together to drive significant innovations and in this case hopefully catalyse the development of an Ocean Technologies cluster, which in turn will allow the further emergence of new ideas, services and indeed businesses”.