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Marine Electronics Journal Blog

NMEA Technology Award--a look at the rest of the pack, part 2

By Jim Fullilove

Editor, Marine Electronics Journal

Last week we described some of the products that competed for the annual NMEA Technology Award. In brief, electronics manufacturers nominate one of their products that they feel best meets all of the qualifications for the award---innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality and value. A panel of independent judges takes it from there, examining and discussing the product at the NMEA International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo’s two-day trade show. When possible that includes putting the devices through their paces in on-water demos. A very useful twist in the judging panel compared to other boating equipment award competitions is that it includes both marine journalists and CMETs---Certified Marine Electronics Technicians.

Below are the rest of the nominations for the Technology Award. We’ve excerpted from the descriptions provided by the manufacturers:

The Winner: Furuno DFF3D network multi-beam sonar

Fusing its fishfinder and commercial phased-array scanning sonar technologies, Furuno created the industry’s first deep water, multi-beam sonar, exclusively for use with NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2. The DFF3D (165kHZ) multi-beam sonar delivers a side scan detection range of an unprecedented 650+ feet, while being able to see straight down over 1,000 feet. While many competitive products simply can’t see anything at those deeper ranges, the DFF3D is completely at home in both deep and shallow water for finding fish, wrecks and structure. The judges selected the DFF3D as winner of the 2017 NMEA Technology Award.

The DFF3D offers four display modes, allowing you to customize the MFD with the modes you use most. Choose from Cross Section, 3D Sounder History, Triple/Single Beam Sounder and Side Scan. By displaying multiple presentations simultaneously, it becomes very simple to know exactly where the fish and structures are in relation to the vessel.

The DFF3D utilizes a new, stabilized multi-beam transducer, along with Furuno’s advanced signal processing, to produce eye-popping images that help find and track fish. Transducers are available in bronze or stainless thru-hull and transom mount versions, providing the perfect fit for boats of all sizes.

For the ultimate in performance and flexibility, you can incorporate an existing 50/200kHz NavNet fishfinder or TruEcho CHIRP with the DFF3D, so you’ll be able to easily combine your down sounder information with the DFF3D presentation. The unique 165kHz frequency of the DFF3D allows you to view the DFF3D sonar while simultaneously utilizing your 600W/1kW DFF1, high-powered DFF3, TruEcho CHIRP DFF1-UHD, or even the internal TZtouch2 fishfinder, with no interference or noise. A new series of single housing, combined transducers, which incorporate DFF3D elements with a variety of high-power fishfinder transducers, are coming soon. These new combo transducers will feature all of the DFF3D modes, along with traditional fixed frequency or TruEcho CHIRP capabilities, giving you the best of both technologies in a single, compact and easy to install solution.

Remarkably easy to use and understand, the DFF3D multi-beam sonar brings you the ability to see the underwater world all around your vessel in real-time. Fish targets are shown in 3D within the water column, allowing you to pinpoint fishing hot spots and mark them as waypoints. Amazingly, waypoints also contain depth data, so you’ll know right where to drop your line. For many anglers, Furuno’s DFF3D may be the only sounder they’ll ever need, making it the perfect candidate for this year’s NMEA industry Technology Award.

MSRP: $2095


Nobeltec TZ Coastal Monitoring

Nobeltec TZ Coastal Monitoring is the first true turnkey solution for maritime surveillance. It is designed to manage an infrastructure with limited human and financial resources. It’s easy to use, quick to implement and has low maintenance cost.

These ready-made packages provide our customers with the advantages of a standard system that covers most business requirements at a fraction of the cost compared to custom-developed systems. The entry level TZ Coastal Monitoring software costs $15,000 MSRP. TZ Coastal monitoring can integrate up to six radars with a remote system can also record and replay up to one month of data (radar echo, AIS/ARPA targets, video).

Exclusive solutions are set up through the partnership with Furuno, guaranteeing the best reliability.

In the main features you will find automatic target acquisition and tracking (200 ARPA targets/1000 AIS targets), sound and visual alarms management according to customizable rules, camera integration with manual and automatic tracking record up to one month of data (radar, target, video, audio) with unlimited archiving and display weather (real time and forecasts).

Overall, TIMEZERO’s Coastal Monitoring provides a platform from which high-performance radars and cameras can seamlessly integrate into the software and be controlled directly from the control center. Using AIS and other means of boat identification, picking up an unknown or unidentified boat in a zone can be ‘automatized,’ so human error is no longer a factor. Boats with AIS Class A can be directly contacted using TIMEZERO software to relay information such as indicating whether a boat’s heading must be changed.

All these features allow our solution to answer different needs such as detection of illegal marine activities (illegal fishing, piracy, terrorism, etc.), anti-collision system between vessels and/or platforms, search and rescue operations, optimization of port infrastructure and protection of sensitive coastal sites. TZ Coastal Monitoring brings value into many arenas, including oil platforms, ports and harbors, fish farms, marine protected areas, wind farms, nuclear power plants, bridges/dam constructions, military sites and submarine cable areas.

2017 marks the year that TZ Coastal Monitoring became a top of mind solution for the highest-level projects. The US Navy selected TIMEZERO Coastal Monitoring as the surveillance system of choice. Twenty-one full systems were Installed in six African nations. It was an instant-success, providing these countries with a state-of-the-art monitoring system that allows them to gain control of marine traffic and more serious threats such as piracy within their territorial waters.

MSRP: from $15,000



Digital Yacht iKommunicate

iKommunicate is a powerful and intelligent gateway device that converts NMEA data from traditional boat navigation systems to a number of modern network and internet formats, allowing your data to be wirelessly transmitted around the boat for display on popular navigation software and web apps.

iKommunicate is the first gateway product to support the new Signal K open data format. By utilizing standard web technologies like JSON, HTTP rest APIs, websockets, Bonjour (mDNS), etc., app and web developers immediately feel ‘at home’ with Signal K and can be writing apps within hours, rather than weeks or even months if they try to use NMEA data directly.

It is important that the integrity and performance of the NMEA systems are not compromised or degraded and iKommunicate is designed to be an NMEA-compliant gate keeper, ensuring that more developers and users can interact with the data in new, exciting, but also safe ways. With a sophisticated HTML5 web interface for configfuration and access to the web apps, documents and other web content stored on its internal 8GB micro SD Card, iKommunicate works straight out of the box, with simple plug and play operation.

Three fully opto-isolated NMEA 0183 interfaces and an NMEA 2000® interface with integral 1 meter drop cable make iKommunicate both future proof and legacy-compatible with any NMEA equipment. Featuring simple online, email or SD Card in-the-field updating methods, keeping iKommunicate bang up to date with new features, PGN support and improvements is child’s play.

Even if users are not ready to embrace Signal K, iKommunicate is already compatible with many applications, including Nobeltec, Rosepoint, iNavX, OpenCPN, MacENC, iSailor, Navionics, in fact any app that supports NMEA 0183 over a TCP or UDP network connection. Our goal is for iKommunicate to gradually evolve into a universal gateway that makes interfacing easier and things just work.

The devices offers good pre/after sales support and a two-year warranty.

MSRP: $299


For anyone who isn’t familiar with Signal K, here is an excerpt from its website: “Signal K is a modern and open data format for marine use. Built on standard web technologies, Signal K provides a method for sharing information independent of the underlying communications protocol (e.g. NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000, SeaTalk, I2C, 1-Wire, ZigBee, etc.) in a way that is friendly to WiFi, cellphones, tablets, and the Internet. A format available to everyone, where anyone can contribute, Signal K is the first truly open data format for the marine industry and is set to revolutionize how we consume and interact with data on boats.”



IRIS 436

Iris Innovations nominated a product but presented no information or description except for its cost: $625.


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Comments | Leave a Comment
Page 1 of 2 ( 10 comments)

trawlerdeejay:(10/13/2017 3:46:51 PM) "Excellent article. I had no idea what the differences were between o183 and 2000, Thank you so much."
Darryl:(3/27/2017 10:17:15 PM) "Putting the MSRP with each unit reviewed would have been helpful. If each unit was actually tested, the reports on each unit would have been helpful too.

Thanks Darryl---we generally don't mention prices due to confusion over so many variations---MSRP (mfg. suggested retail price), MAP (min. advertised price), MRP (min. resale price) and then there are internet prices on some websites that go their own way. But your point is well taken--buyers need to know if something is in their price range. We'll work on it.
There is independent testing of some of these products on sites like but the information we receive from manufacturers rarely cites the results of any shootouts they may conduct against the competition's products. "
Laurie Seibert:(2/16/2017 2:00:20 AM) "Thanks EV Collier for sharing this informative blog. It is important to know the causes of EMI filters. We use these parts in our daily life in the electronic products so we should know that what are the causes are cures of EMI Filters.

Great job and keep updating!

Laurie Seibert"
Yes:(2/10/2017 7:22:40 AM) "EMI/RFI filter causes and cure. There are very few people who share such information with everyone. I was looking to read such informative blog!

Great job!

Lisa Wilson
hugo:(1/30/2016 2:00:32 AM) "Why is no integrated ais transceiver available? Only recivers.


Each AIS system consists of one VHF transmitter, two VHF TDMA receivers, one VHF DSC receiver, and standard marine electronic communications links (IEC 61162/NMEA 0183) to shipboard display and sensor systems (AIS Schematic). Position and timing information is normally derived from an integral or external global navigation satellite system (e.g. GPS) receiver, including a medium frequency differential GNSS receiver for precise position in coastal and inland waters. Other information broadcast by the AIS, if available, is electronically obtained from shipboard equipment through standard marine data connections. Heading information and course and speed over ground would normally be provided by all AIS-equipped ships. Other information, such as rate of turn, angle of heel, pitch and roll, and destination and ETA could also be provided. Check out:"
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