IoT Technology Making Waves toward Smart Ocean Cities

Subscribe To Download This Insight

4Q 2019 | IN-5638

It has been predicted that more than 70% of the population will live in urbanized areas in the next three decades. There has been a considerable amount of technological involvement and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for urban areas and cities, notably known as “Smart Cities.” However, one of the most overlooked areas of IoT application is the coastlines of largely populated areas. Coastal towns tend to be the most proactive in regard to environmental and climate-orientated policies and are also the most affected by the vast amounts of plastic, sewage, and various industrial toxins that jeopardize marine and land biological ecosystems in beachfront zones.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.

   

From Smart Cities to Smart Ocean Cities

NEWS


It has been predicted that more than 70% of the population will live in urbanized areas in the next three decades. There has been a considerable amount of technological involvement and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for urban areas and cities, notably known as “Smart Cities.” However, one of the most overlooked areas of IoT application is the coastlines of largely populated areas. Coastal towns tend to be the most proactive in regard to environmental and climate-orientated policies and are also the most affected by the vast amounts of plastic, sewage, and various industrial toxins that jeopardize marine and land biological ecosystems in beachfront zones.

There are various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and public-private collaborative projects that have been deployed to tackle these issues, such as Ocean Cleanup’s System 001 and UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign. However, recently, the Ocean Data Alliance announced the project of ocean restoration through the creation of “Smart Ocean Cities.” The Smart Ocean Cities concept integrates urban coastal zones into Smart Cities programs and technology-driven solutions. The IoT solutions are already playing a significant role in transforming cities though air quality monitoring, urban planning redesigns, more efficient transportation solutions, and other various initiatives supported by IoT sensors and data science solutions. As it is the coastal area that is particularly engaged with and endangered by overconsumption and water pollution, the adoption of smart water IoT solutions into the shoreline, and improvements in wastewater treatment can have a tremendous positive impact on an ocean ecosystem.

Commercialization of IoT Water Solutions

IMPACT


Arguably, the concept of Smart Ocean Cities is embedded into the idea of the rejuvenation of coral reefs, shellfish beds, and the “smart” use of natural resources. However, realistically, the implementation of the concept into practice should start with essential crisis prevention, ecological application, and commercialization of the technology in order to make it more accessible in the future.

One of the existing solutions is offered by Libelium and its Smart Water Xtreme monitoring IoT platform. Libelum’s newest solution estimated water quality parameters through measurements of pH, Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP), conductivity, disintegrated oxygen level, salinity, Potassium Chloride (KCL), temperature, nephelometric turbidity, suspended solids, and slime cover. Additionally, the new ion probes, which enable the detection of ammonium, nitrate, chloride, sodium, and calcium in the water, could be added to the oceanic solution. The device is also equipped with various sensors that allow the seamless monitoring of fish migration, chemical leakage detection, spatial measurements, and seawater pollution. In late 2018, such a prototype was deployed in Nikiski, Alaska, where Liberium partnered with Aridea Solutions and promptly identified a natural gas leak and mitigated the significant threat to local fauna.

Smart water solutions generate real-time data, which enables added value for such solutions but also closes the market to further analysis and transformation of data. Hence, there is the potential for real-time insight regarding maritime and oceanic fauna, pollution, and pollutants levels, which help resource distribution and decision-making tackle environmental ocean concerns, to have a global impact.

Data Lakes Becoming Data Oceans

RECOMMENDATIONS


Despite the excellent possibility for IoT solutions to assist in mitigating climate and environmental challenges, there is still a long road to the commercialization of smart ocean solutions and full-scale investment in the area. Looking at current smart water IoT solution offerings on the market, it is possible to suggest that IoT solutions are slowly moving toward penetrating the vertical application markets of agriculture and aquaculture. In this industry, there is a higher probability of developing a well-rounded IoT infrastructure with a steady return on investments and possibilities of value-added services in the future, whereas technological initiatives regarding climate change and environmental threats are much less prosperous from a commercial point of view. Since uncertainty over the future of the Paris Accord and the re-emergence of protectionist policies of O&G Industries, one business proposition for IoT is moving toward traditional manufacturing and heavy processing industries. Hence, the idea of Smart Ocean Cities has a long way to go for acceptance, development, and investment.

Nevertheless, the existing IoT technologies for water distribution systems, which are entangled with water sourcing from lakes, rivers, and various storage facilities, can already be utilized in the ocean's shores. This newest, IoT-based resource can be deployed for marine crisis mitigation by detecting levels of toxins and animal endangerment while, additionally, the expansion of the IoT environment can create value from, simply, data. The real-time data has a value on its own, as it can be used by research facilities, business development, and Research and Development (R&D) testing or just as innovation incubators for a broad spectrum of products, goods, and services. Hence, despite the lagging commercialization of the concept of Smart Ocean Cities, there is an opportunity for the monetization of IoT data from water-smart IoT solutions and sensors, which will simultaneously address environmental challenges.

The inclusion of IoT into the environmental domain opens up a lot of opportunities and monetization strategies, from merely understanding and analyzing the oceans to using that analysis for the benefit of the environment, society, and the business community.

 

Services