IBM to supply monitoring and prediction system to British Columbia

Enterprise Big Data vendor IBM will supply monitoring and prediction system to British Columbia to respond to off-shore accidents and natural disasters.

This will be a three-year, multi-million dollar project, IBM said.

IBM does not disclose the financial details of the Big Data deal.

The enterprise IT vendor said the new Smart Oceans BC program will use marine sensors and data analysis to enhance environmental stewardship and public and marine safety along Canada’s West coast.

As per the IT deal, IBM will monitor vessel traffic, waves, currents and water quality in shipping arteries and will include a system to predict the impact of off-shore earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surge, and underwater landslides.

ONC, the University of Victoria’s largest research project, operates cabled ocean observatories off BC’s coast.

IBM is investing $12 million in cloud computing infrastructure, analytics software, services and skills training to support this next phase of the system to position Canada as a global leader in ocean technology.


Western Economic Diversification is also contributing funding to bring online a number of additional underwater observatories and high frequency coastal radars, said IBM.

IBM President Dan Fortin said: “IBM is making investments in technology and skills-training to ensure ONC has the capacity to analyze data from the new sensors coming online, which will allow modeling systems to better support disaster planning and drive Canada’s economic future through the development of big data skills and associated digital expertise.”

ONC will use an IBM, on-premise cloud to run simulations on earthquakes and tsunamis with a goal of predicting their behavior and impact on coastal areas. This information will benefit audiences from public safety agencies to public transportation, tourism, and other industries operating in the area.

Researchers will employ IBM visual analytics, data streams processing, machine learning and data exploration software to develop, test and run decision-support systems with commercial viability that could aid industrial and governmental agencies in sea state, pollution monitoring, spill response and other aspects of ocean management.

ONC estimates the global market for smart oceans systems technology will grow from $4 billion to at least $6 billion by 2020.

As part of the contract, IBM and ONC will also set up a Virtual Compute Lab for remote First Nations communities. The system will let First Nations people use any connected device to access a range of ONC and university curriculum in their own community via the Internet, allowing them to attend university without having to physically relocate to a campus.

Pix source: Ocean Networks Canada

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