... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Sep 16, 2010
I don't have a good image yet, and some really interesting new products have revealed themselves in Newport, but I'll bet a lot of readers will want to know about Digital Yacht's iAIS, announced yesterday in the U.K. It's a high quality AIS receiver that can also take in a boat's sensor data -- like GPS, depth, wind, etc. -- via a NMEA 0183 port, multiplex it into the AIS target data, and send it all out over WiFi to the crew's iPhones, iPads, Androids, etc. It will cost about $450, ship in October, and here's hoping it's just the beginning of things to come...
First of all, iNavX is the only app I know of that will be able to use the iAIS right off the bat (except that DY will offer a free AIS viewer). So every charting app developer on the planet -- and there are lots -- should consider putting support of 0183 data over WiFi on their road map. But getting much 0183 data into the iAIS is going to take a separate multiplexer (though maybe the Actisense N2K-to-0183 gateway will play well with iAIS). So hopefully DY or someone is working on a device like this that works with NMEA 2000, or just a simple N2K-to-WiFi appliance, or better yet an N2K-to-WiFi gadget that includes the Third Party Gateway protocols so that commands can be sent back into the boat's N2K network. And which MFD or PC charting developer will be first to offer an easy but powerful two-way connection to smart phones, pads, etc.? I've heard that one has already demoed a prototype system that automatically loads a route planned with a charting app onto an MFD. There are many ways to skin this cat. Let's discuss (though I need to play show judge all day...)
PS 9/20. This diagram illustrates some iAIS detail, like USB output, I've just become aware of: