Almost everyone knows about the challenges the telecoms industry had with the “last mile” efforts made on land years ago to connect the main trunk fiber broadband network into the home. Enabling the last mile meant that by placing a wireless modem in the home we witnessed profound changes in life as we had known it. Before this, you were restricted where you could work or enjoy entertainment services. But with a wireless data network and connection to fast broadband to the outside world you suddenly had flexibility and freedom to connect anywhere you were in the house to the internet. That instant mobility led to a burgeoning of unconnected devices and web services provided by the cloud.
Fortunately for all of us, our online experience was well established for all our consumer needs when the pandemic hit. What was new was ensuring that the wireless network you had at home could provide the same experience as you had working in the office and the services and security you’d come to expect from your corporate network. Data is now ubiquitous and flowing in real time with online banking, working from home, shared ride and food delivery services and social applications. And, because everything is digitized and online in the cloud, you can get and share information whenever and wherever you need it in real time, whether you are ordering a pizza or managing a global supply chain. Because of this digital transformation and always-on experience, companies and people can better manage their lives and businesses with agility and pivot when the unforeseen happens.
Real-Time Data on Land Has Been a Lot Easier to Do Than Under the Water
The same cannot be said for ocean industries, where much of the data is underwater and getting it from point A to point B reliably in adverse conditions and then to a central data processing point on shore has been challenging with traditional technologies such as cable, acoustic and optical. As hard as it was to connect all of this on the land where signals passed through air, physics made sending wireless signals reliably underwater exponentially harder. This is because the sea is ever changing and what is happening under the water where you lack visibility often bears no relation to what is happening above the water, making it difficult to gauge effective responses.
Retrieving data from sensors underwater that measure fatigue, corrosion, strain, flow, motion, current, pressure, temperature and pH, among others, is often a laborious, manual event involving vessels and teams of divers who in addition to retrieving data must also fix broken cables and eyeball the effects of corrosion on subsea structures. These manual maintenance checks are not only costly but often risky for divers and boats and have been difficult during the pandemic shutdown.
As an example, fish farmers never have a complete view of all their nets or of the conditions for the stock inside, having to lower probes by hand infrequently and in one or two locations. Since fish are finnicky eaters and require specific oxygen and temperature conditions to feed optimally, stock can be at risk before readings are gathered.
CSignum: Leading the Digital Transformation for Subsea Industries
CSignum is introducing a new technology to help environmental, aquaculture, wind farms, and oil and gas sectors enjoy the same benefits of digital transformation as industries on land. HydroFi Modems are the only wireless systems that use low-frequency, low-power RF signals to transmit data automatically and in real time through the water-air boundary, water column, seabed and subsea structures.
HydroFi technology overcomes the limitations of current acoustic, optical and cable or wired subsea technologies that often malfunction and fail in adverse environments in deep ocean or shallow water splash zones and cannot cross the water-air boundary. Cables can get snagged and fail due to repeated stresses from wave motion. Acoustic signals cannot get through the water-air boundary, are degraded in turbid or choppy water and are expensive. Additionally acoustics may affect marine life which is a topic that has come to the fore in recent times. Optical solutions are often subject to marine growth on the units and don’t work well in tidal seawater or water that is turbid or choppy, where light is ambient or where line-of-sight is limited or non-existent.
The patented HydroFi Modem is built on the HydroCore, a modular platform with a core set of functions that are required across ocean industries. It connects via standard interfaces to sensors, dataloggers, sondes and acoustic doppler current profiles, enabling a building block or modular approach to developing standardized solutions rapidly and cost-effectively for faster deployments, updates and ROI to the customer. It is the only solution that can transfer data signals subsea, sea-to-air and air-to-sea, and it does this automatically and in real time, significantly cutting the data latency issues that currently constrain the industry.
We are planning external pilots of the HydroFi Modem with a variety of subsea equipment manufacturers who provide a variety of fresh and saltwater solutions from underwater sensors.
Enabling Digital Transformation and “First Mile” Data Transmissions with HydroFi
CSignum enables ocean industries at every stage of technology adoption to digitally transform how they deploy, protect, operate, update, integrate and manage their remote communications systems for greater sustainability, increased performance and preparedness for unforeseen events. Our standardized technology platform creates a foundation for subsea industries to scale their data infrastructures to meet evolving needs and changing market demands.
As a result of CSignum’s HydroFi innovation, the challenges of underwater radio communication have finally been overcome, enabling “first mile” data connections so that ocean industries can join the advances of last mile WiFi signals on land for an end-to-end digital infrastructure that is agile, enabling operators to easily add sensors and devices into the network and quickly respond to unforeseen ocean conditions as well as economic and environmental global disruptions with real- time data. Today, with HydroFi technology as a foundational piece at every touchpoint of the subsea ecosystem, operators will be able to standardize their solutions, increase efficiency and performance, improve safety, reduce maintenance and costs, extend asset life, and reduce carbon footprints.
Future products that CSignum will be developing on HydroCore will enable an ecosystem of modules for data logging so you can interrogate that sensor and log data into memory, process local data at the edge and provide additional algorithms for automatically setting sensor parameter and alarms. The goal will be a Subsea Internet of Things (SIoT) connecting every node of whatever type to networks and global economic and climate infrastructures around the world. Real time data coupled with the advances of artificial intelligence and machine learning will ensure that data from the “first mile” joins the global stream of data that is stored, managed and analyzed in the cloud.
CSignum solves customer problems technically and commercially, giving customers peace of mind that their information is getting to the right place at the right time to process for their applications, whether than involves structural integrity on a wind farm or oil and gas platform, preventing harmful algae blooms, improving ocean observing or optimizing the health and sustainability of fish farming.