The keenly anticipated Oceanology International (Oi) 2018 exhibition and conference took off on Tuesday 13 March 2018 at ExCel in London and runs until Thursday 15 March. Renowned throughout the marine industry as an unassailable benchmark for proffering business opportunities and showcasing evolving technologies, the Oi portfolio has expanded over time with the addition of the sister events Oi Americas and Oi China. This year’s Oi London show looks likely to set a new record regarding attendance numbers, with more than 500 exhibitors from 79 countries.
For 2018, the emphasis is firmly focused on technological developments including autonomous systems, advanced sensors and robotics. The comprehensive event programme represents a unique forum for the exchange of accumulated knowledge, networking, access to the latest technology and new international market opportunities.
In ExCel’s South Gallery, the Oi18 conference programme has a series of linked, free-to-attend Technical Tracks at its core. “The Technical Tracks enable authoritative speakers and informed attendees from interlinked professional backgrounds to trade insights, discuss challenges and brainstorm potential solutions in real detail,” says Ellen Burgess, conference manager.
The Technical Tracks schedule gets under way today with the Hydrography, Geophysics & Geotechnics track (South Gallery Rooms 7 & 8, 10.00-17.25). Today’s session will look at the methods of data collection and analysis required to map offshore seabed and sub-seabed environments. The track will subsequently detail the myriad ways in which the resultant data benefits the seafloor mining, marine and coastal construction, oil & gas, telecommunications and renewables industries.
Also today, the Ocean Observation & Sensing track (South Gallery Room 5, 10.00-17.15) will assess advances in the monitoring of ocean physics, chemistry and biology that could have a constructive effect on current weather, ocean and climate models.
Two further tracks round out today’s programme: the Offshore Aquaculture track (South Gallery Room 9, 10.00-17.10) and Part One of the Unmanned Multi-Vehicles & Vessels track (South Gallery Rooms 3 and 4, 13.00-16.55).
Looking ahead to tomorrow, Wednesday 14 March, delegates can attend Part Two of the Unmanned Multi-Vehicles & Vessels track (South Gallery Rooms 3 and 4, 10.00-15.55) or the Oil & Gas track (South Gallery Rooms 7 and 8, 10.00-17.00). Tomorrow’s schedule also includes two completely new Technical Tracks – Ocean Information & Communications Technology (South Gallery Room 9, 10.00-14.30) and Underwater Imaging & Metrology (South Gallery Room 5, 10.00-17.00). The latter, divided into three sessions, will be co-chaired by Simon Waterfield, Head of Survey Support Group at Sonardyne, and Blair Cunningham, President of Technology & Divisional CEO of Coda Octopus Products. This technological showcase will focus upon the practical and economic benefits of real-time imaging in offshore and construction activities.
The Technical Tracks schedule concludes on Thursday 15 March with the Navigation & Positioning track (South Gallery Rooms 3 and 4, 10.00-15.25) and another new track, Marine Renewables (South Gallery Rooms 7 and 8, 10.00-16.25).
The Oi18 conference programme is additionally bolstered by parallel showcases, beginning with today’s half-day Ocean Futures Forum (Platinum Suite, 9.30-13.30), assessing long-term energy trends, ocean growth and diversification and sustainability. The event includes a networking lunch.
A groundswell of interest and the ever-increasing necessity for communications, marine and ocean IT, satellite and data solutions has brought about the Ocean ICT Expo, drawing upon the collective expertise of hundreds of IT and data professionals. And for providers of new technologies who might be seeking potential sources of partner funding, the Entrepreneurs’ Advisory Workshop in the Investment, Trade & Innovation Theatre offers industry-specific advice and guidance.
Furthermore over the next three days, the co-located Interspill conference and exhibition (also running until 15 March) will serve as a networking forum for oil spill industry professionals, academics and government representatives.
Many of the 500-plus exhibitors are familiar faces at Oceanology International, attracted time after time by the quality of visitors to the event. “We have an unrivalled track record of almost 40 years with offshore CPT technology and lead the market with new developments. Oi18 provides us the arena to display our experience and, as Oi18 attracts visitors that match our global presence, we just feel we need to be there,” comments Mark Woollard, commercial director of A.P van den Berg, a Dutch firm providing equipment for core penetration testing (CPT). “We think personal contact in our specialised market is very important,” he adds.
Krista Brunette, marketing coordinator for the Canadian oceanographic instrument manufacturing company RBR Ltd (Stand G551), agrees. “Exhibiting at Oi18 allows us to connect with many of our customers, our agents and other industry professionals. It also allows RBR to be ‘discovered’ by attendees, perhaps considering our instruments for future projects and deployments.”
Many exhibitors will be hosting demonstrations of their products, either on the stand or on the water, as ExCel London is advantageously situated next to the Royal Victoria Dock. “We will feature examples of realised custom projects at our stand,” says Francesca Faverio, marketing and business development manager of the Italian bespoke cable design and manufacturing firm Novacavi (Stand N200). “Our team will be pleased to answer any questions about our activity.”
Meanwhile, Steven Pasco from the Sales and Marketing department of RTSYS (Stand J551) in France, which specialises in underwater acoustics and sonars, reveals that the company “will be giving a presentation of the MSFD [the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive], its stakes and why our recorders are qualified for this directive. We will also present our latest innovations regarding data storage, data acquisition, processing and display. The third demo will be on underwater acoustics communications and its applications in our products.”
Elsewhere in the exhibition, the Chinese firm CHC Navigation (Stand A109), which manufactures GPS and GNSS receivers and provides complete positioning systems for surveying, construction, GIS and marine applications in more than 100 countries, will be bringing the most popular products from its appearance at Oi China 2017 to London. And, celebrating its 40th anniversary, Denmark’s EIVA a/s (Stand D500) will be presenting a new deep learning software solution. It will also hold demonstrations of its NaviSuite software products for subsea and above-water engineering and surveying tasks.