Inmarsat to provide connectivity infrastructure for ocean data project

Inmarsat has agreed a deal with the Nekton Institute, a not-for-profit research institute, to provide the connectivity and data infrastructure for a new project to support sustainable ocean management, which will see scientific research shared on an open source Cloud platform for a ‘virtual Hackathon’ involving global marine scientists.

The mission, entitled ‘First Descent – Midnight Zone’, will include a 35-day long voyage starting in mid-March exploring biodiversity around the Maldives, Seychelles and the High Seas, with video, audio and data collected from the deepest parts of the Indian Ocean by the research vessel Pressure Drop.

That data will then be relayed via Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress VSAT service to marine science projects focusing on sustainable oceans, and shared at the 2022 Indian Ocean Summit, where Seychelles and Maldivian governments, and ‘First Descent’ partners, are seeking to create a sustainable management plan for 2,000,000km2 of ocean.

Inmarsat will also install its Fleet Data IoT platform on the research vessel, to collect and transmit water chemistry and geophysics datasets for use by shore-based researchers.

That data will be shared on an open source platform, with processed datasets made available so that registered marine scientists around the world can participate in a proposed Hackathon to interrogate data and publish findings within two weeks. All datasets will be blockchain-coded to ensure security, transparency, and decentralisation.

“One of the biggest issues is that it can take months or even years to publish data analysis, by which time data may have less relevance and application. By using Fleet Data we can publish data in an instant via an Inmarsat API. This is ground-breaking for marine science and could accelerate the analysis and publication of ocean data,” said Oliver Steed, Chief Executive, Nekton.

In related news, Inmarsat has also announced a new addition to its Fleet Data ecosystem, with Brazil-based start-up i4sea committing to providing a dedicated application for the IoT platform, a sea and weather forecasting system.

Six integrated tools are offered, including services such as ocean and weather hyperlocal forecasts, dynamic draft prediction, terminal efficiency analytics, and analysis and prediction of siltation or erosion dynamics of the seabed.

The partnership between the firms grew out of the Bluetech Accelerator, a programme created by the Portuguese Ministry of the Sea in 2019.  i4sea was one of 20 global start-ups – and the only one from Latin America – selected to develop pilot projects with maritime stakeholders, including Inmarsat.

“As a Certified Application Provider, we will be constantly developing new features to generate increasingly powerful tools for the maritime market,” said i4sea CEO Bruno Balbi.

“Working with a company like Inmarsat is really a great deal for i4sea and this is the first smart system that integrates in a single platform, all the essential tools to support decision making regarding vessels’ manoeuvres and port terminals’ operations.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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