What is the Digital Ocean?

What is the Digital Ocean?

Gary Gysin — November 28, 2016

We talk a lot these days about how technology is changing the world. Self-driving cars will reshape our cities and commutes. Drones will be able to deliver emergency medical supplies on demand. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will help expedite and automate decision-making.

And it’s true. Digital technologies are transforming the world before our eyes. From the smart home to the smart grid to the smart farm, intelligence—in the form of tiny, inexpensive microprocessors—is embedded everywhere. Billions of sensors constantly collect real-time data from our environment. And wireless devices enable us to connect it all, providing instant communication and control of the world around us.

Everywhere, that is, except the ocean.

The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, but only a tiny fraction of it has been explored. Immense area and scale, difficult operating conditions above and below the surface, unique communications challenges – all of these factors have impeded our efforts to collect and make use of maritime data.

Until now.

Imagine a networked ocean connecting billions of sensors, manned and unmanned systems, and satellites above. A place where data is available on demand, around the clock.

This is the Digital Ocean, and it is taking shape around us.


Think about the economic impact of persistent access to ocean data:

  • 90% of global trade is carried by ships, which produce emissions equivalent to 195-billion cars In the Digital Ocean, we can optimize shipping routes to reduce emissions and reap significant fuel savings
  • Undersea threats are increasing, and global submarine spending is expected to double from 2014 to 2024 In the Digital Ocean, we can stretch defense budgets further with unmanned systems monitoring activity
  • One in five fish brought to market is caught illegally, costing the global economy up to $23.5B annually worldwide In the Digital Ocean, we can crack down on illegal fishing and recoup those losses

The Digital Ocean is a fundamental building block of the ocean economy. We have many of the pieces we need today, but we can only bring its full economic potential to life if we build it together. We’re all in. Are you?