Digital Yacht kicks off Kickstarter campaign with iKommunicate Gateway

signal k iot 4-3 format with line drawing

At Digital Yacht we love to be on the leading edge of marine electronics technology and when we see an exciting development we want to be the first to let you know.

Things are changing in the world of marine electronic interfacing to start enabling the internet of things afloat with the introduction of a new open source platform called Signal K. It’s been developing quietly over the past few years by a group of enthusiastic and very bright  developers and boaters and is now ready for wide scale implementation. The name comes from the original Signal K (kilo) flag which indicates “I want to communicate”!

Signal K aims to be the next generation solution for marine data exchange. It is intended to be used not only for communication between instruments and sensors on board a single vessel, but also to allow for sharing of data between multiple boats, aids to navigation, ports, marinas, etc. It is designed to be easily implemented by web and mobile applications and to connect boats and ships to the Internet of Things Afloat.  Digital Yacht have produced a white paper to help interested parties learn more about Signal K and applications. Just click HERE to get a copy.

Many of you will be familiar with NMEA data standards which have been prevalent over the past 30 years.  While reliable and proven, they are slow and also expensive to develop for as there are legal, certification and documentation costs.  These standards were developed when the instruments on the average boat were much simpler and less capable. Today’s world is a lot more connected and there are huge benefits of tablet, PC and smartphone integration for data displays, applications, sharing and control. However, we don’t see the NMEA standard disappearing over night but equally a new format is needed for the next advance in applications.  In fact, the combination of NMEA and Signal K on board is the best technical opportunity.

For Signal K to start making headway, existing instruments need to become Signal K ready. After all, you don’t want to change all your existing electronics to enable the connected boat. We also think that, in the future, new systems will start including a Signal K interface but that doesn’t stop you implementing and benefiting from the new technology today.

iKommunicate from Digital Yacht is a new gateway and server that translates NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 data to the new Signal K format allowing the current generation of marine electronics to take advantage of the Signal K platform. It converts any existing NMEA data you have on board from your GPS, instruments, engine, AIS and more to the Signal K format. This fast growing “next generation navigation” and data-sharing platform enables the connected boat – welcome to the “Internet of Things” afloat with iKommunicate!

iKommunicate plug 'n play with NMEA 2000 networks

The Signal K platform is exciting and can make a step change to the boating community.  However, like any new early market protocol, it needs a catalyst of users to seed the interest for developers. The iKommunicate gateway enables this by integrating easily with existing systems allowing you to take advantage of this next generation of applications without changing your on board electronics.

So to make this happen, we have created a Kickstarter crowd funding project to really engage with the first adopters and developers of this technology and to allow us to bring a new concept to market.  In return, you’ll get access to the new interface early and at an amazingly affordable price as we’ll as having direct access to our development team so we can build a wish list of applications and capabilities.

PS – If you’re visiting a yacht club or marina, please print out the promo poster HERE and pop on the notice board


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