Analysing the health of the sea: an innovative project by the Italian start-up OceanHis


The Turin-based company, incubated in I3P, presented its integrated system at the Innovation Village in Genoa during the final event of the international regatta The Ocean Race.

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Between the end of June and the beginning of July 2023, Genoa's Ocean Live Park hosted the Innovation Village, a large dynamic space where it was possible to discover some of the most innovative technological solutions for the protection of the sea, created on the occasion of The Ocean Race Genoa - The Grand Finale 2022-23, the final stage of the most famous round-the-world crewed regatta. Inaugurated in the presence of Genoa's institutions, the Innovation Village represented the crowning achievement of the “Call For Innovation - Lo sport nella blue economy”, an initiative promoted by Comune di Genova (Municipality of Genoa) and developed by Job Centre, with the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo and in cooperation with I3P, in the framework of the project "Towards The Ocean Race. Innovation, Sustainability, Enterprise".

The aim of the call was to seek start-ups and SMEs with project proposals for innovative products or services within the Blue Economy. At the end of the application evaluation process, the Municipality of Genoa presented the six Italian companies that won the initiative: among them was OceanHis, a Turin-based company that developed an innovative system for monitoring the state of well-being of the sea, which was awarded a non-repayable financial contribution, an entrepreneurial accompaniment service with the Genoa Blue District, and participation in the Innovation Village to present its technological solution to thousands of visitors from all over Italy and the world.

The company's team

OceanHis is an innovative start-up founded three years ago, in July 2020, by a team of partners passionate about the marine world, with decades of experience both in the fields of scientific research - in national organisations such as ENEA, INGV, CNR - and in the fields of environmental and marine data analysis, business management and Information Technology (IT). Since 2021, the start-up has entered an incubation path at I3P, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, to further develop its business project.

The consolidated and complementary skills of the OceanHis team, the network created over the years, and the financial and managerial support of its partner Idata Group, a system integrator operating for over 40 years in Italy and abroad, enabled the young company to carry out the R&D phase in a very competitive timeframe and independently develop a complete solution with the aim of an effective time-to-market.

The project of OceanHis

The start-up has thus given birth to the BlueBox, an IoT system integrated between hardware and software: it is a plug-and-play miniaturised laboratory that can be installed on vessels of various types, and allows for the collection of geo-referenced fundamental data, in the open sea or under the coast, on the state of health of the sea. Data can be collected at different depths and then transmitted, stored in the cloud and visualised in real time on a proprietary platform, available on web and mobile.

The main data the company collects through the integrated system include, for example, temperature, salinity, pH, oxygen, chlorophyll and turbidity, but can be extended and remodelled as required. The system can be installed on heterogeneous vessels, allowing it to be disseminated not only among those working in the Blue Economy sector, but also among enthusiasts and volunteers, with the aim of achieving capillary mapping of the ocean for the benefit of growing environmental awareness. Data are indeed fundamental for the scientific and governmental community, but also for the private sector and civil society, to support a sustainable economy to protect our seas.

Through its solution, OceanHis addresses companies operating in the marine sector: yachting, marine cleaning, monitoring, shipbuilding, transport, ports and marinas, associations. The start-up also provides trend assessments, through analysis and comparison with historical data, reports, and reports, and complies with UNESCO Best Practices, as well as the international UNI EN ISO 9001 certification model.

Towards a sustainable future

Adotta1miglio (Adopt1mile) is an initiative by OceanHis, which with the BlueBox project is among the innovative solutions awarded by the "Call For Innovation - Lo sport nella blue economy" within the project "Towards The Ocean Race - Innovation, Sustainability, Enterprise" by Genoa Blue District, Comune di Genova and The Ocean Race with the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo.

With Adotta1miglio, anyone can adopt or give away one or more nautical miles, receiving a certificate of adoption, information and data collected: the aim is to actively contribute to a growing sensitivity and awareness of the importance of the health of the sea, in terms of an applied citizen science.

"The sea is a complex ecosystem which is vital to our survival, and it influences the climate, health, economy and culture of many communities around the world," said Giuseppe Manzella, President of OceanHis. "It is a source of inspiration and wonder that reminds us of the importance of our connection with nature and the need to protect its diversity and beauty for future generations. Knowledge is needed to protect the sea, and it is based on information and data: OceanHis, therefore, collects data for a better future."

During the 10 days of the Innovation Village 2023 in Genoa, OceanHis enabled hundreds of participants not only to adopt a mile, to attend lectures on the importance of environmental and marine protection - involving several primary partners in the fields of meteorology, scientific research, outreach, and inclusive sailing - but also to get first-hand experience of data collection via the BlueBox installed on a sailing boat, which carried out a one-hour monitoring demonstration mission four times a day.

"This experience has strengthened in us the conviction that we are sailing in the right direction," commented Francesca Inches, Co-Founder & CEO of OceanHis, "and has renewed our determination to contribute to a sustainable Blue Economy, with the perspective of an increasingly integrated and shared environmental and marine protection between science, governance, the private sector and civil society, for the benefit of all and of future generations."