The vision for SmartBay is “to provide simple access by all stakeholders to data and information in support of effective management and sustainable development of coastal ocean areas and the safety and security of life at sea.” In order to achieve this vision, SmartBay has been implemented as a user-driven observing system. The users involve all stakeholders within the area – fishermen, oil and marine industries, recreational users and the people of the municipalities who live there – in essence to support better decision-making in the area.
“Better information, better decisions” reflects SmartBay as the project covers a wide array of applications ranging from marine safety and efficiency to industrial development and to community socio-economics and environmental protection. It truly is a multi-faceted project as it is needed to cope with the emergence of Placentia Bay as the industrial heartland of Newfoundland and Labrador. With this development and prosperity, come challenges when mixing both traditional and non-traditional users. This information portal helps to solve these challenges from all areas.
There are currently three SmartBay buoys positioned in the Bay. Each buoy provides critical data such as weather and sea forecasts along with other meteorological data, vessel reporting and monitoring systems, and much more. As a demonstration project, SmartBay has been successful, so much so that the community, both in and beyond Placentia Bay, has come to rely on it to the extent that it is regarded by many as an essential service. SmartBay has been maintained as a 24/7/365 operation, along the way facing significant financial and technical challenges.