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A Dive into DeepSense: How AI is Revolutionizing the Ocean Sector in Nova Scotia

by | May 25, 2023 | Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Spotlight | 0 comments

Lucija Prelovec of DeepSense, charting a course through the vast ocean of Artificial Intelligence. Transforming the ocean economy one wave at a time.


In today’s digital world, the intersection of technology and various industries has become a fascinating point of exploration and innovation. Among these intersections, the blend of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the ocean industry offers an intriguing narrative, rich with potential. DeepSense, headquartered at Dalhousie University, is one such entity that operates at this crossroads, providing a unique mix of AI expertise and ocean sector knowledge to foster the development of groundbreaking solutions. This article shares insights from an enlightening interview with DeepSense’s Community Coordinator, Lucija Prelovec, delving into their mission, successes, challenges, and the transformative power of AI in this intriguing sector.

From exciting success stories to candid advice for those considering AI implementation, this interview uncovers the nuances of DeepSense’s work, its approach to bridging the gap between AI and the ocean industry, and its vision for the future. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a student, a technology enthusiast, or just curious about AI’s role in unexpected sectors, this blog promises a rich exploration of AI’s transformative potential in the ocean industry. So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and join us on this deep dive into the fascinating world of AI and the ocean sector through the lens of DeepSense. 

Harnessing the Power of AI in the Ocean Sector: The DeepSense Way

During our interview, we got a chance to dive deep into DeepSense’s mission and work, an organization providing resources to businesses looking to explore artificial intelligence within Canada. Their primary goal is to address real-world problems and create efficiencies using AI, particularly in the ocean sector.

DeepSense identifies two key target audiences: the talented students they wish to recruit for projects and the companies they aim to collaborate with, especially those in the ocean sector. The purpose? To create a synergistic relationship that leverages AI and the talent pool available in Nova Scotia.

Founded in 2018, DeepSense emerged from a recognized gap in the ocean industry, a sector of immense significance to Nova Scotia. Despite the technological advancements seen in other sectors, AI’s application was notably less prevalent in the ocean sector. This disparity set the stage for DeepSense to enter, intending to fill this gap and bring AI to the forefront of ocean industry operations.

Under the stewardship of their former Executive Director, Jennifer LaPlante, DeepSense gained a laser focus on its goals: to ensure the effective application of AI, assist companies, and manage abundant data. Recognizing the perilous nature of some jobs within the ocean sector, DeepSense envisions a future where dangerous roles are replaced by AI solutions, ensuring safety without sacrificing efficiency.

The organization sees a vast pool of data and opportunities waiting to be capitalized upon through AI processes. DeepSense aims to use AI to make data more effective, streamlined, and beneficial to all stakeholders in the ocean industry.

Additionally, DeepSense acknowledges the rich computer science and IT talent in Nova Scotia. They strive to raise awareness about the diverse opportunities within the ocean sector, which extends far beyond traditional roles such as sailing, fisheries, and marine biology.

At the heart of DeepSense’s mission lies a desire to create a “smarter ocean economy” – one that reflects the intelligence of the people within it while maximizing efficiency. 

Lucija Prelovec, Communications Coordinator, DeepSense

While DeepSense serves more as a support organization or resource for other businesses, it recognizes that one of the first and foremost steps for companies to implement AI is education.

Many businesses approach DeepSense with a desire to utilize AI, but initial meetings often reveal challenges: lack of adequate data, disorganized data, or data inconsistencies due to changes in collection methods over time. DeepSense identified varied data maturity among the companies seeking their services, prompting a tailored approach to meet these companies at their respective stages and guide them through the AI pipeline.

Education remains paramount, with many companies initially unaware of their potential with AI. DeepSense aids businesses in identifying project ideas and subsequently matching them with suitable students for execution. This supportive and educative role helps companies navigate the essential steps to implement AI within their organizations effectively.

DeepSense’s scope of support is dedicated entirely to the ocean sector, highlighting the organization’s commitment to enhancing this industry using AI. Being based in Nova Scotia, with its rich ocean economy, they are in an excellent position to drive innovation and growth within this critical sector.

As an organization offering support and resources to a variety of companies, the AI technologies or tools DeepSense recommends are highly dependent on individual company needs and the nature of the project at hand. Whether it’s prediction models or computer vision models, the tools selected vary, ensuring they’re the best fit for each unique business case.

An excellent example of their flexibility and commitment to serving businesses was highlighted when a company sought help in building an app. While app development was not a skill set within the DeepSense team, they took the initiative to contract someone who could provide this expertise, demonstrating a dedication to supporting businesses with tools that will benefit them, rather than pushing specific technologies.

The organization also appreciates the diverse expertise that its students bring to these projects. While students may gravitate towards tools they are familiar with, they are open to learning and using new resources, offering an adaptable and evolving toolkit.

DeepSense’s approach reflects a deep understanding of the fluidity and flexibility needed when implementing AI solutions. Their adaptable method, commitment to education, and focus on catering to individual business needs, mark them as a significant force in harnessing AI for Nova Scotia’s ocean economy.

AI Success Stories and Overcoming Challenges: DeepSense’s Journey

One of DeepSense’s most noteworthy successes is the transformation of the company InnovaSea, a leading producer of fish tags. Before engaging with DeepSense, InnovaSea had little knowledge of machine learning or AI. Their collaboration with DeepSense was so successful that InnovaSea created an entire department dedicated to machine learning and AI. They even hired two full-time staff members from the students who worked on the project. This story embodies the ultimate goal of any AI project – to showcase the value of AI, leading to sustained use and employment opportunities in the sector.

However, the path to success was not without its obstacles. One of the initial challenges DeepSense encountered was the readiness of companies for AI. Many businesses were eager to jump into AI projects without realizing their own data maturity. To address this, DeepSense expanded its offerings to include data analytics, data mining, and data visualization, helping businesses mature their data and open up more opportunities.

Another challenge was the lack of student interest in the ocean sector. To resolve this, DeepSense increased its student resources, organized webinars, and initiated a data challenge for students. The result was an increased awareness of the numerous opportunities within the ocean sector, and a surge in students interested in working with DeepSense, with over 300 students now keen on connecting with an ocean company.

DeepSense’s journey has demonstrated the power of AI in transforming industries. By identifying needs, creating solutions, and overcoming challenges, they’ve significantly impacted Nova Scotia’s ocean economy. Their work serves as a valuable case study for businesses looking to harness AI to drive innovation and efficiency.

The final section of the interview with Lucija mainly focused on the insights and lessons learned during AI implementation. She recognized that DeepSense is not directly using AI for decision-making, instead, they use their understanding of AI to determine if a company is prepared for an AI project.

The AI-driven insights in this case mainly influenced the strategic choices of DeepSense, enabling them to be more selective in choosing companies to work with. As AI becomes more mainstream, companies are considering AI capabilities more seriously, leading to more businesses seeking DeepSense’s expertise.

Lucija advised businesses considering AI implementation to be open-minded, leverage open-source data, and consult with experts to uncover AI opportunities they may not have thought of. She also highlighted the need for flexibility, as not all companies may be ready for AI at the moment.

Lucija concluded that DeepSense is passionate about workforce development, particularly about enlightening students about the opportunities available in the ocean sector and AI. 


Nova Scotia’s DeepSense is leading the way in the exciting intersection of science, technology, and innovation, in the ocean economy. They’re showing us how AI can be used to solve complex problems, make operations more efficient, provide jobs, and offer important strategic insights. Still, the journey of AI in this sector is just beginning, and there’s a sea of untapped potential and opportunities waiting to be explored. DeepSense is playing a vital role in shaping this future. They’re showing us that, with the right guidance, AI can be a powerful tool to bring about significant changes. As we watch their progress, we can’t help but feel excited about what’s to come in the ocean industry, especially here in Nova Scotia.

This insightful discussion was possible due to the gracious participation of Lucija Prelovec, Communications Coordinator for DeepSense. Her knowledgeable perspectives and openness have offered valuable insights into the transformative impact AI is having on the ocean industry, particularly within Nova Scotia. We extend our deepest gratitude to Lucija for sharing her experiences and contributing her time and expertise to this enlightening conversation. Thank you, Lucija, for making this exploration of AI’s role in the future of the ocean industry both engaging and enlightening.

DeepSense and its innovative application of AI in the ocean industry serve as one of the case studies in our upcoming whitepaper. Their story is part of a broader exploration of AI’s transformative potential in various sectors in Nova Scotia. Be sure to Subscribe and not miss this informative resource.

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