IBM and Dublin City University partner on environmental management

Computing giant IBM has teamed up with the Dublin City University (DCU) Water Institute to explore ways that connected technology can enhance environmental management.

Teams from both organisations are working on a pilot research project that utilizes DCU’s sensors and IBM’s machine learning technologies to protect and conserve natural resources.

According to the researchers, such technology can be used to tackle globally crucial issues like water quality for freshwater and marine environments.

Tech for good
IBM’s cognitive IoT technologies will be linked to various sensor platforms and provide deep learning capabilities. Only quality, reliable data will be captured in this process.

Advanced analytics are also being used in this project. Embedded into sensors and their platforms, they can detect environmental changes that could impact public health or assets.

This collaboration is brings together a wide range of expertise. Specialists from IBM Research, for example, are specialists in cognitive-based IoT technologies, while CDU’s team has an insight into the latest environmental trends.

Making change
As well as taking an active role in this research programme, IBM has also joined the DCU Water Institute Industry Advisory Council to tackle future environmental challenges.

With this project in particular, IBM scientists are currently in the process of developing integrated IoT solutions to support a plethora of sensors.

Once developed, they’ll be used to better understand a whole host of ecosystem challenges, including water quality changes due to natural, artificial or climate-related effects.

Sensors galore
The researchers said these sensors can be used to understand physical, chemical and biological parameters to be able to understand critical environmental changes.

They can also be applied to improve the management and monitoring of pollution from sources like agricultural or storm water runoff affecting lakes, rivers, estuaries and marines.

These technologies, the organisations said in a statement, are to be piloted in Ireland and the United States. The first sensors are being deployed on Lake George, in New York State.

Protecting the environment
Harry Kolar, an engineer from IBM Research, said that there’s huge potential for IoT technologies to be applied in a bid to protect the world’s environment and natural resources.

“At IBM Research, we are excited to leverage IBM’s expertise in cognitive and IoT environmental monitoring and management with the DCU Water Institute to help advance the future of water management.

He added: “The collaboration will focus on newly developed DCU sensor technologies that have the potential for monitoring several key aspects of water quality at costs significantly lower than current commercial technologies.

“This new generation of sensors, when combined with IBM’s environmental IoT platform, may eventually help provide significant benefits for water management on a global scale.”

Professor Fiona Regan, director of the DCU Water Institute, said: “The technologies developed during this important collaboration will aim to disrupt the current norms of costly sensors limiting their distribution at IoT scale to provide really valuable information which supports better decision-making about our valuable water resources.

“The DCU Water Institute aims to develop technology-based solutions to facilitate greater water stewardship, translating technologies developed in the NCSR [Dublin City University’s National Centre for Sensor Research] to the water domain. DCU Water Institute scientists and engineers are developing novel sensor and data analytics technologies to improve how we monitor water quality.”