COVE is a world-leading innovation centre and global tech hub with a mission to create the world’s next commercial and revolutionary tech advances. COVE’s Digital Harbour is a project that will provide digital information using an integrated system of sensors to record real-time data sources from stationary and mobile infrastructure located in the water, on land, in the air, and via satellite.
Halifax’s dense cluster of marine and aerospace companies paired with naval, commercial, research, and recreational activities that occur simultaneously in a constrained physical harbour space, make it the optimal location for a project of this scope.
At the heart of the initiative lies a vision to create a harbour that serves as a catalyst for innovation, fostering the development of projects and research throughout Atlantic Canada and maximizing Nova Scotia’s presence in the marine economy.
Digital Harbour brings a powerful set of capabilities to the table, providing data collection, storage and transmission infrastructure, insights related to collected data, infrastructure for testing of products and other services, and access to real-time and historical data to support research and industry activities.
Launched earlier this year, Digital Harbour is in its initial phase and significant progress has been made. COVE has partnered with CarteNav, a Nova Scotia-based software company specializing in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission software, to advance the research, development, and commercial value of above-the-surface marine-based technologies.
As part of the CarteNAV partnership, a proof of concept has been created, integrating real-time data from the Stella Maris Testing Solution with CarteNav’s AIMS-ISR and AIMS C4 software. The former manages multi-sensor control, mapping, and reporting, while the latter facilitates real-time communication across various platforms. Together, COVE and CarteNav created a real-time visualization of the harbour showing vessel location and data collection assets such as the Smart Atlantic Buoy and the Stella Maris Testing Solution. With a simple click of the asset, a summary of the data can be provided. Additionally, COVE collaborated with stakeholders to consolidate ocean data to augment the proof of concept and explored partnership opportunities for further collaboration.
To ensure strong coordination, COVE facilitated a Digital Harbour Advisory Committee that includes representatives from industry, government, and academia. This diverse and collaborative approach ensures that the Digital Harbour initiative aligns with the needs and aspirations of a wide range of stakeholders.
“Initial consultation with the Advisory Committee resulted in 36 use cases for which the Digital Harbour initiative can be used,” said Levi Morrison, COVE’s Director of Innovation. “COVE has prioritized five use cases from the list of 36; each considered high value with several interest groups keen to engage. One of the use cases under discussion focuses on water quality monitoring, which will instrument the harbour with various sensors measuring any current, ongoing, and emerging problems, build a tool that determines when it reaches unsafe levels, and report accordingly to stakeholders.”
Digital Harbour is an evolution upon the Stella Maris Testing Solution, COVE’s unique testbed for marine instrumentation. With a subsea platform, dockside testing area, shoreside operations centre, and 24-hour access to the data portal, the Stella Maris Testing Solution offers everything a marine technology company needs to conduct product development, verification, and commercialization to advance innovation. Companies can attach technology, such as sensors and hydrophones, to the subsea platform and be provided with real-time data access while the platform is deployed, demonstrating the viability of a functional ocean data ecosystem.
COVE resident company, Rising Tide BioAcoustics, is a frequent user of the Stella Maris Testing Solution. The company is developing an active noise-cancellation system for the underwater noise produced by ships, which is exceedingly damaging to the marine environment. They have been using the Stella Maris Testing Solution and Operations Center as their site to conduct their testing and using the hydrophones on the subsea platform to demonstrate their product’s noise-cancelling capabilities.
Furthermore, COVE resident company, Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Inc., has used the Stella Maris Testing Solution to complete dockside testing, calibrations, and demonstrations of their phosphate sensor for real-time measurements of phosphate concentration. Other COVE ecosystem companies that have used the Testing Solution include IntegraSEE, JASCO Applied Sciences, Ashtead Technology, Innovasea, and more. Testing completed by these companies will help support use cases for the evolving Digital Harbour project by supplementing with data and learnings achieved through various technology products.
The ability to cost-effectively test and deliver commercially relevant data-based solutions is desirable to several regions worldwide. With a successful deployment in the Halifax Harbour, led by global marine tech leaders at COVE, Digital Harbour will revolutionize industry-centred global ocean sensing and ocean data applications. COVE looks forward to sharing this exciting journey as we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in marine technology.