Oceans make up most of our world, are vital to mankind’s survival and are by all accounts an underutilized resource. With a frank assessment of the needs and opportunities, Commissioner Gary Gysin appeals to stakeholders around the world in this call to action to build out the oceans’ information infrastructure, starting now!
The Digital Ocean: Our Next Information Frontier
When the term Information Highway was coined, little did the majority of the world realize the impact this concept and the resulting Internet Superhighway would have on humanity. In 1994, MIT described the concept as “The information superhighway brings together millions of individuals who could exchange information with one another.” Spring forward to today. You can simply “Google” anything and receive an instantaneous response to gain immediate knowledge. This is our expectation – immediate access to data anywhere 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 ocean, there is a huge information infrastructure gap, with limited to no real time access to data.
Why is this? On land, we have sensors everywhere – weather sensors to provide neighborhood weather reports, traffic sensors to report on road conditions, and the list goes on. There are sensors throughout your home for better home management and security – controlled right from your smartphone. In Manufacturing plants, sensors are prevalent to optimize the supply chain and increase productivity. Many more examples exist in healthcare, entertainment, military, oil & gas, and in thousands of other industries. The Digital Revolution has certainly arrived, yet not to our oceans.