NMEA 2011 Expo, neat new stuff #1
I spent a fair amount of NMEA Conference & Expo time reviewing products that are already shipping -- more on that Technology Award tomorrow -- but I still got a fair chance to see the new, new stuff (like the Fusion Marine Stereo wow). Check out that Green Marine Bridge Command Display System demo above, for instance, and don't miss the video. I don't think there's ever been a monitor like that STAR at upper right, and I wondered how an owner or installer would set up the unusual STretched Aspect Ratio on the PC driving it. No problem: The monitor itself splits off the top third of a standard screen resolution, so that Maretron N2KView gauge display was simply set up on a regular monitor with that in mind. Slick. And of course there was much more...
Wave WiFi showed off two products in development. A new model of the Rogue Wave, seen at left below, will have a metal shell that will make it both waterproof and able to be screwed onto standard marine antenna mounts, both features Panbots have expressed desire for. The router will bring Wave's easy-to-use firmware (and well-regarded service) to a built-for-boats CradlePoint-style multi-Internet-access technology.
KEP has what's purportedly the first sunlight viewable dual touch monitor, and while it's not in this photo below, I look forward to sharing details of an install here in Maine at the helm of a big JBoat. What is shown in the photo, though not to justice, is KEP's Glass Pod Display Console, which is supposedly easy to flush mount in an equally curvaceous helm.
And staying in the big yacht mode, here's KVH's new TracVision HD11 world TV antenna or "World's First Truly Global Satellite TV System with Full HD Support!" as they like to say, which is no doubt a shot at Intellian's global w-Series, which were also looking good at the Expo. What KVH has done is to incorporate the three-sats-at-once technology it introduced in the HD7 so this big antenna can get all DirecTV channels as well as most everything else on this planet of non-standard broadcasting. There's also an automatic switching option for HD11 so you can have two antennas working together if the install doesn't permit either a perfect sky view!
On a more prosaic level, Rich Galasso gave me an enthusiastic and compelling pitch on the state of Spot and Globalstar. The Spot Hug boat system is purportedly doing well in the field, and Rich says that the new satellites are giving Globalstar phones about 70% uptime, which, along with their known voice quality and data speed, makes the service a great deal. He also had an intriguing answer to my inevitable question about the DeLorme inReach, which looks like a Spot killer. Rich said that while incremental improvements to the satellite messenger idea are good, what we really need is radically different. Then he described how Globalstar's new satellites are capable of nearly broadband data speeds without a stabilized antenna and without huge service expense because of the system's short-hop architecture. The many ground stations are about to get an overhaul and, though Rich couldn't be specific, I walked away with the image of portable device that could get me tracking, messaging, distress notifications, voice calls, and high speed Internet as long as I was under the Globalstar umbrella, at reasonable cost. Wow.