Newsletter #290

Newsletter #290 - October 28, 2015

iPad/Android Tablet Owners

>>> iPad/Android Tablet Owners >>>

If you have an iPad or an Android tablet on your boat, you know what a fantastic tool it is to have onboard. It's a backup chartplotter, a weather display, a recipe database, a book reader, an anchor alarm, along with thousands of other uses. The problem is, except for GPS position data, it hasn't been a full player, capable of displaying all instrument data and being a full navigation tool.

Until now.

We've written about Signal K before. It's an open standard that provides the ability to convert NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 data from marine electronics into something open and wireless that can be used by tablets.

Making Signal K available requires two things to happen: 1) There must be manufacturers who will provide hardware to output instrument data in Signal K format, and 2) App developers have to read Signal K data and use it in their apps. It'a a "chicken-and-egg problem" - you need both to happen at the same time to be successful.

Solving the chicken-and-egg problem requires leadership and a little trust. It also requires the community to get involved and stand behind the capabilities they want.

So this is the big news but it needs your involvement.

Digital Yacht is one of the best known companies for producing marine electronics interfacing products. They are an NMEA manufacturer with full NMEA 2000 compliant interfacing hardware. They also know WiFi and Ethernet having dozens of quality products for the marine environment. These skills make them the perfect manufacturer to create a new Signal K gateway product. And that's what they've done.

They've done something very interesting with their iKommunicate product. They are releasing it as a Kickstarter campaign to allow the community to show support for this capability. And in true Kickstarter fashion, being a supporter gets you a big discount on getting the first products that come out.

All of the interfacing capabilities for NMEA 2000, NMEA 183, and Signal K are handled in software on iKommunicate. The software can be updated over the internet so getting a discount on the hardware is a wonderful thing - you'll be able to keep it current as new releases come out.

iKommunicate is bi-directional with Signal K. It will make it possible to receive data from wind instruments, depth transducers, and heading sensors, as well as send data to control autopilots.

We've already interfaced Signal K to our Locations apps on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OSX. There are other developers adding support. But to make this work, we need to attract the attention of the developer community. The way to do that is to make the Kickstarter campaign successful.

We've previously bought interface boxes for NMEA 2000 to WiFi that had no open standards. Their cost is in the $600 range. Digital Yacht is pricing their iKommunicate at $299. But with Kickstarter, they're providing the first 100 units at $179, the next 200 at $199, and then the Kickstarter special price will be $229.

The early price levels will probably be purchased early so, don't wait.

If you have a tablet, this is your opportunity to save money and shape the industry. You'll help break the chicken-and-egg issue that exists.

Please watch the video and read the detailed information available for this campaign:

Needless to say, we're not involved financially in Digital Yacht's new product. We just believe in it and have purchased a $179 unit.

>>> Defender 1st >>>

Watch this spot every week in the emailed newsletter for the Defender 1st special promotion. To sign up for the newsletter, create a new ActiveCaptain account at:

...or log into the ActiveCaptain website and select My Account at the top right of the page and make sure the Newsletter checkbox is checked.

Remember - Defender 1st: one product, one week, one incredible price.

When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

Dylan and Dee Dee have been making the rounds as we work our way south. They've visited some familiar haunts, St Johns Yacht Harbor in Charleston and Skull Creek Marina, and a new favorite, Dataw Island Marina. They are always lavished with attention wherever they go. We just tag-along for the ride. You can follow Dylan and Dee Dee on their blog:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
sharing the experience
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Newsletter Archive
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Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
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