ST Conference Preview: Oceanology International Americas

The simple fact that the Oceanology International marquee has not merely survived but flourished in the 50 years since the first Oi event was held in Brighton in 1969, weathering all manner of meaningful developments en route, is a mark of the respect it commands throughout the maritime community.

As a symposium of central importance to thought leaders, manufacturers, distributors and buyers across an exhaustive range of disciplines, this unique ocean science exhibition and conference acts as a virtual shop window for technological and strategic innovation. In more recent years, its burgeoning preeminence has seen the brand extend into the Far East with Oi China, beginning in 2013, and Oi Americas, which was first held (under the name of Oi North America) in San Diego in 2017.

The San Diego Conference Center will again act as the venue for the next event, OiA ’19, an extra-special 50th anniversary show that will take place February 25 to 27, 2019.

“It’s a privilege and, obviously, an asset to be able to celebrate and draw upon half a century of accumulated knowledge,” reflects Reed Exhibitions Event Director Jonathan Heastie, “but there’s also a great deal of fascinating new content for OiA ’19. To give just one example, the technical program, led this year by the Society of Underwater Technology in Houston, will be highlighting Marine Pollution and Environmental Stressors, detailing the tools and techniques required to effectively deal with these challenges.”

The technical program, running across all three days of OiA ’19, will also have a dedicated, deep-level focus upon other prominent maritime topics, including: Unmanned Vehicles, Vessels and Robotics; Navigation and Positioning; Observation and Sensing; Hydrography, Geophysics and Geotechnics; and Ocean ICT.

In drawing together some of the most experienced and perceptive speakers from a broad spectrum of specialties, the OiA ’19 conference schedule offers an incomparable combination of complementary insights—and nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in a pair of one-day initiatives: the Ocean Futures Forum (Monday, February 25) and Catch The Next Wave: Frontiers Of Exploration (Tuesday, February 26).

Where the Ocean Futures Forum will be devoted to an examination of ongoing scientific and technological developments in aspects such as marine renewables and aquaculture that are impacting beneficially upon the trajectory of the blue economy, Catch The Next Wave will explicitly affirm the way exploration and technology proceed hand-in-hand as mutual catalysts, with advancements in either sphere leading to further breakthroughs in a continuous, naturally symbiotic process.

As is customary with all Oi events, the packed conference schedule will be supported by a similarly compendious exhibition. New for OiA ’19 will be a FutureTech hub, directing delegates’ attention to new technology that has come to light since the previous Oi convention, and a Marine Institutes pavilion hosted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which will welcome 10 or more academic hubs and institutes from across the Americas.

With exhibitors in categories ranging from data acquisition/management, dynamic positioning and ocean modeling to ROVs, AUVs and fiber optics, attendees will be well served regardless of their sphere of interest—and almost 3,000 buyers and influencers are expected to be in attendance.

“Many visitors from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean can’t afford the time and expenditure of traveling over to the London Oi event,” explains Heastie, “but as a regional iteration of a flagship global undertaking, San Diego is naturally far more convenient for them—not to mention the bonus that it is agreeably temperate in February! In the light of these factors, it’s no surprise that we generate a substantial 98 percent unique audience at this event.”

In conclusion, Heastie is keen to stress the open-ended potential of OiA ’19. “It’s so much more than just a technological showcase, although it fulfils that role most impressively. As a networking opportunity, and as a means of connecting our guests with fresh modes of thinking, it offers delegates the chance to directly engage in strategies and projects with enormously constructive implications—such as the Seabed 2030 global ocean mapping initiative, which will be discussed as one of our technical tracks. We’re eager to extend a welcome to everyone with a passion to participate in the future of ocean sustainability. The maritime community is a vibrant and vital one, and thanks to events such as these, it is growing in stature and influence all the time.”

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