Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 30, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
It's quite unusual to illustrate a Panbo entry with an advertisement, but I think this one has editorial content. Isn't it great to see three separate companies state in print that their electronics will work together to accomplish a complex task? Won't that make it harder for any one of the three customer service departments to point the blame for operational problems elsewhere? Plus, the task in this case -- to put the control and output of yacht cameras onto the Internet so owners or crew can access it anywhere -- is pretty impressive.
The product/service at the center of this partnership is GOST Watch HD, which the company characterizes as an Internet Video Recorder or IVR, though it also supports live viewing. All sorts of cameras are supported, but probably the hardest is a FLIR M-Series pan/tilt/zoom thermal/daylight model like the one I've been testing on Gizmo. As seen in the boat show demo above, GOST Watch even includes a software mimic of the FLIR joystick control, so a user can control the camera from their PC just as they do at their helm. Of course, there are also GOST Watch apps.
But a system like this is fairly useless if the Internet connection isn't fast and smooth. While GOST solves some of that problem with video compression and Internet tunneling protocols, the workhorse broadband communications platform, that GOST is pleased to be in print partnership with, is the KVH TracPhone mini-VSAT system. Now I realize that most boaters aren't in this league -- hey, I'm having trouble getting text messages off my yacht -- but all the technologies involved are getting smaller and/or less expensive and complicated.
I'm headed to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) today, and I look forward to seeing some big yacht electronics like these. It's interesting, though, that the average person walking the show owns a boat less than 30 feet long, and they, too, will find lots of relevant gear to see. I'll have a new product announcement first thing tommorrow and more after that.