Last week, Director and CEO of NY's Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries spoke at an even that IBM held on advances in streaming and analytics for IT bloggers. Of the speakers at the event, Cronin stood out for his emphatic yet progressive take on role sensors can and should play in the environmental movement. Arguing that environmentalism has become detached from innovation and that this attitude is killing our waterways unless we are able to use technology to bolster real-time monitoring, Cronin made the case for some of his institutes most progressive, ground-breaking and tech-saavy programs. The idea is simple: IBM and Beacon, which is developing technology, systems and sensors to monitor water in real-time, aim to create the equivalent of a water weather report; Cronin pointed out during out that where we might have access to information on the weather report on the other side of the world, we have very little day to day information on the state of our water systems.
With the help of IBM, Beacon hopes to make the Hudson the most networked waterway in the world with real-time data management and transmission data. Cronin noted "The Hudson isn’t an ecosystem. It’s an information system. If we don’t look at it in a 21st century fashion we’re doomed.”
The need for such systems isn't lost on most of us, especially in light of the oil spill in the gulf. As water becomes scarce, the need for such initiatives seems more imperative than ever. Interested readers can learn more about the Beacon Institute and their initiatives here.