Sabre LaunchPad, the Yacht.com cloud idea
It hasn't gotten much press yet, but Sabre Yachts recently introduced something called LaunchPad, which is a collection of boat specific apps and services that purchasers of certain Sabre models will receive on an iPad2. I haven't yet seen a demo, but besides manuals for everything, the user will purportedly be able to report service issues using the pad's email and camera functions and a full service history will acrue on the pad and on a land-based server (lest the pad goes swimming). Of course there's much more that the LaunchPad bundle might do aboard, like control a specific AV system, but further good news is that it will eventually be available for many existing Sabre owners -- because Sabre has kept an archive of manuals and specs -- and perhaps to many other boat brands because LaunchPad is based on the ambitious Yacht.com idea...
As you can see on the Yacht.com site, the company is gearing up to be a central cloud-based data repository for boat manufacturers, dealers, and owners. It makes a ton of sense, if Yachts.com does a good job with the myriad details, and of course if it forges a relationship with the builder of your particular boat. Of course, too, this whole area is going to get quite competitive. WheelHouse Technologies (formerly SeaKits), for instance, has been working on this sort of every-system-onboard support for years, and hardware like the iPad and like Boatranet promise to make it all work better (as my Yachting colleague David Schmidt wrote here).
So what do you think of the Yacht.com concept? And what other sort of apps phone/pad service manual and history projects are going on out there? I'm particularly interested this morning because at 11:30 EDT I'll be talking on ProBoat Radio (a live podcast actually) about what smart phones etc. may mean to Professional Boatbuilder's audience. Of course, the subject goes way beyond handy manual access to navigation screen extensions, built-in WiFi hot spots, phones and pads as the front ends of satellite communications devices, and so forth. What do boatbuilders need to know? Write in here, or call right into the show.