Sea Technology

JUN 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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www.sea-technology.com June 2017 / st 67 ships) are greatly reduced. We need to let the unmanned systems tackle the dull, dangerous and dirty jobs to safe- guard human life and improve overall operational efficiency. The oceans are data rich, yet with- out an easy, reliable and cost-effective communications infrastructure, they remain an untapped information re- source. The good news is we're not starting from scratch. Commercially available technologies, both manned and unmanned, are on the market and working today, but more development is needed. Creating the Digital Ocean will re- quire an ecosystem of partners with a common objective: connectivity any- where on or in the oceans. Whether it's international trade, un- dersea communications, weather, food sources or jobs, our economic future depends on sustaining a healthy global ocean. To do so, we need to reliably collect and communicate informa- tion from all parts of the ocean. This requires a renewed dedication to net- work and communications innovation that fueled the World Wide Web. We must start collaborating now on setting up the Digital Ocean. The Digital Ocean is a long-term endeavor that doesn't exist yet, but its seeds are present around the world. It requires more than technology and building out the fundamental infra- structure. It will also require thought- ful and collaborative work on interna- tional maritime law and regulations, global interoperability and data stan- dards, and security. The good news is we have the experts and technologies at our disposal today. The time to get going is now. Our oceans are ailing and need our atten- tion. Without healthy oceans, we can- not realize a healthy ocean economy. This is why I ask you to start thinking now about the role your organization can play in the Digital Ocean. Looking ahead, the opportunities are vast, and the stakes are high. I in- vite you to join me to create the Digital Ocean—the next global communica- tions frontier that will serve not just our growing needs but also the needs of future generations. ST eries/seafood supplies, energy short- ages and climate change, we must progress our ability to understand the oceans, which will require an expo- nential growth and deployment of sensors and a global communications infrastructure to help monitor and manage the oceans. In 2015, more than 190 world leaders committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spanning initiatives to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, fix cli- mate change, and improve life on land and in our oceans. Among the SDGs is #14, pertaining to the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. This is a fundamental requirement, and, if not addressed, will have severe conse- quences for our planet. Just think of the ramifications to the 2.6 billion people who currently rely on seafood as their main source of protein. A vision for the Digital Ocean is emerging: a diverse, networked array of platforms and sensors that enable connectivity across and through the ocean depths and to the air above, providing instant access to informa- tion. This vision will take time and collaboration across industry, govern- ment, NGOs and academia. It requires unmanned and manned systems work- ing together to collect, exchange and communicate data. Before the Digital Ocean becomes a reality there are challenges we have to address. Fundamentally, we need to create an information highway for the oceans. We need to deploy sen- sors to collect real-time data on cli- mate change, weather, seismic activ- ity, ocean currents, fish migration and other biological or environmental con- ditions. We need renewable energy for long-duration operations, as well as extreme reliability for ocean infra- structure to handle typically unpredict- able, harsh ocean conditions. We need to reduce the cost and risk of ocean operations. The current acquisition, maintenance and operational costs for ocean operations are prohibitive for most businesses. With the advent of unmanned sys- tems, the risks and high costs associat- ed with manned ocean operations (i.e., Gary Gysin is the president and CEO of Silicon Valley-based Liquid Robotics, a Boeing company, and commissioner of the Global Information In- frastructure Commis- sion. Liquid Robotics is a pioneer and lead- er in unmanned surface vehicles serving the defense, oil and gas and scientific markets. Under Gysin's leadership, the company is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth and industry recognition. W hen the term "Information High- way" was coined, little did the majority of the world realize the impact this concept and the resulting Internet Superhighway would have on humani- ty. In 1994, MIT said: "The information superhighway brings together millions of individuals who could exchange in- formation with one another." Spring forward to today. You can simply "Google" anything and receive an instantaneous response to gain im- mediate knowledge. This is our expec- tation—immediate access to data any- where in the world, day or night. In reality, instant access to data is only true for less than one-quarter of our planet. For the remaining three- quarters, the oceans, there is a huge information infrastructure gap, with limited to no real-time access to data. The Digital Revolution has occurred on land, but not in our oceans. The world's economies are tightly linked to the oceans. More than 90 percent of global trade is carried by ships with goods worth more than $4 trillion. These economic forces, cou- pled with the sustainable management of our ocean environment, are key drivers of the blue economy. The com- mon denominator for this growth is the need for real-time ocean data. The majority of the world does not realize our dependency on the oceans for life's basic necessities (oxygen, food, weather). Without the ability to have pervasive ocean information and information exchange, we will not be able to tackle some of the most chal- lenging global issues. To help solve the international issues of dwindling fish- soapbox The Digital Ocean: The Next Information Superhighway—Gary Gysin

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