SmartBay System to be Supported by IBM's New Water Management Centre


The Marine Institute’s SmartBay system—a network of surface and sub-surface buoys, cables and communications systems designed to provide real time information about the environment in Galway Bay and to support and stimulate the environmental technology industry sector in Ireland—has been selected as one of the first collaborative projects to be undertaken at the new IBM Centre of Excellence for Water Management.   

The new IBM facility, which was opened in Dublin today (16th June) by the Minister for Finance Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D., is a partnership between the computer giant and the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland (IDA Ireland). It will focus primarily on innovative research and services in monitoring, quality control, and management of fresh water, marine and oceanic environments.IBM's involvement in water management is part of its 'Big Green Innovations' initiative dedicated to energy and environmental issues. SmartBay is currently under development at the Marine Institute’s Galway Bay research facility.  Speaking at today’s announcement the Minister said, “Choosing Ireland as the preferred location for this global research centre is a significant strategic win for IBM Ireland and IDA Ireland. It enhances Ireland’s reputation globally as a research and development location for emerging “Green Technology” investments and is in line with IDA’s strategy of winning high-value knowledge-based research and development investments from leading technology companies. It also positions IBM Ireland at the centre of IBM’s emerging business strategy.  This investment by IBM is extremely important for Ireland, ensuring further diversification of IBM'S Dublin Technology Campus Operations.”  

The SmartBay system will develop innovative advanced sensor technologies and a new intelligent infrastructure for the sensors in Galway Bay and monitoring locations surrounding Ireland.  SmartBay will provide significant benefits to scientists, commercial fishing and aquaculture, monitoring agencies, and the public through the provision of real-time information and advanced analyses of sensor and associated data.  

SmartBay establishes an open and extensible foundation and framework which will support a robust application portfolio for the Marine Institute and the global marine and coastal environmental market.  

“The Marine Institute’s aim is to create 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 of the Marine Institute. “Our collaboration with IBM is a good example of increasingly sophisticated technology being applied to marine stewardship and management activities—the research and development of which offers a significant new opportunity for Irish industry. The novel environmental technologies that will emerge from the collaborations around the SmartBay platform will create new business for Irish technology companies as well as enhancing the viability of the seafood, shipping and water monitoring sectors."  

The new IBM Centre will also foster collaboration across Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Government agencies, and key academic collaborators, including Dublin City University, University College of Dublin, and the Tyndall Institute at University College, Cork, to improve water quality and water system performance.  

IBM Big Green Innovations has concentrated its efforts on water management, alternative energy and carbon management. 

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Notes to Editor    

Strategic Objectives of Smartbay

The SmartBay project aims to strategically position Ireland as a major player in the emerging global market for environmental technologies. The Smartbay project underpins an up-scaling of Ireland’s ambitions in this field and will establish a flagship Research, Test and Demonstration infrastructure to:

  • support national and international research in technologies for the monitoring and management of the aquatic environment;
  • act as a catalyst around which a cluster of Irish industry capabilities can be developed;
  • provide a critical and unique environmental policy support mechanism for Ireland’s decision-makers in respect to EU Water Framework and Marine Directives; Climate change; Coastal zone management and marine spatial planning; and Strategic environmental assessments  

Description of the Smartbay Research & Test Platform

SmartBay is a test and demonstration research infrastructure comprising a networked deployment of a suite of emerging new technologies, including:

  • A fibre-optic cable from shore to an underwater hub
  • A variety of instrument nodes and sensor packages
  • An instrumentation test site facility Multi-beam digital and geotechnical database for the area Deployment of moored and drifting buoys Navigation, communication and telemetry infrastructure Advanced data processing, integration and presentation tools.

Together, these are intended to provide a comprehensive set of the tools and technologies that will be utilised in future customised solutions for the monitoring of important water bodies, on a global basis.