Newsletter July 2019

Summer season 2019 is in full swing and like all of our clients we are working hard to get things done and keep our valued customers happy.

As planned at the beginning of this year we are delivering our second major update in 2019. We used the past quarter to improve one of our core modules in IDEA Yacht: the stock control and purchasing system.
Besides these developments, we released the first version of our new product IDEA FMP (Fleetmanagement Portal) and made it available for selected companies for testing. The feedback we received is now used to optimize our product and finally start promoting it in the yachting industry.
Please find below more information about these topics.

A new look and improved functionality for Stock Control 2.0   

In about a week’s time, on 10.7.2019, we will release our second major update in 2019. The second update will present IDEA’s Stock Control Module in a new look. We improved the usability and added new functionalities that complement our stock control & purchasing module nicely.

Like in other parts of IDEA before, we now changed the purchasing overview to a server side grid that improves loading times drastically. At the same time, the view itself was modernized and filter options were added to make it easier to navigate a large number of POs in different states.


One of the greatest setbacks in this view until now has been the missing adaptability of IDEA’s PO workflow to internal vessels or management company workflows. With the new version, crew members and/or management can now add or rename purchase order states themselves to reflect their individual purchase order workflow.
With the revamp of the stock control module we introduce a budget and approval function for purchasing. Administrators can now create budgets for roles and/or departments to control expenses of the vessel.

Budget planning

These functions are complimented by improved stock management and stock history capabilities. Users can now reproduce all spare parts movements in detail. Every time the stock level of an item is changed, the change is tracked with amount, reason and person who triggered the change.
A complete list of all improvements and bug fixes can be found in our release notes, which will be available by the 10th of July.


In February 2019 we started our journey to develop a fleet management portal that would be compatible with both our products, IDEA Yacht and IDEA SBA. This task was more complicated than initially anticipated and resulted in quite some development work, but we finally managed to release a first version that is able to cope with all our product databases and helps fleet managers to supervise their vessels.
Although we already have a working version out there, we are not tired of improving and bringing it up to the next level. To ensure these actions, we need you to test the FMP in order to generate Feedback and to drive enhancements forward.
The more feedback we get – the more useful features can be implemented into the FMP.
If fleet management sounds interesting to you, please feel free to contact us or request a demo access to FMP.

You want to know more? Join our community: Newsletter or contact us directly!

Climate Change and Yachting?

Yachting and the environment

Climate change is an undeniable fact these days and can be observed throughout the planet. In a lot of regions the weather is slowly changing and extreme weather conditions seem to be on the rise. Heavy storms accompanied by intense rain seem to appear more often while in other regions droughts are causing humanitarian crises.

The reasons for this rapid change are manifold, but without a doubt most of the triggers for climate change are manmade.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) realized early on that ships play a major role in the global climate change and started discussions on how to achieve a greener foot print for all kinds of ships including yachts with the introduction of the first MARPOL Regulation in 1978. Regular meetings of IMO committees make sure that the regulations are revised and extended regularly to reflect the latest developments in technology and environment. That is why these meetings let to a variety of new regulations for ships that already came into force recently or will be enforced in the near future and which will bring changes to the shipping industry.

For us as a software company we have to react to the changing legislations and adjust our software to reflect the new regulations. That is why we are preparing the implementation of new information fields and functions to help you to comply with the new regulations for the second half of 2019.

We want to take the opportunity to have a brief look at the most important regulations for yachts and on maritime initiatives aiming to make the world a greener place.

The Polar Code and other regulations to save special regions

Based on forecasts that shipping in polar regions will increase in the coming years due to new shipping routes and booming tourism IMO was forced to act and design regulations that reflect special weather and environmental conditions at both poles.

The result of these actions is the latest addition to environment friendly improvements in shipping: the Polar Code. It entered into force on 1st January 2017. This new regulation is setting standards for all ships operating in the arctic and Antarctic regions and has implications on MARPOL and SOLAS as it covers mandatory measures and recommendations for safety and pollution prevention.

As already indicated above the Polar Code takes into account not only the sensitive ecosystems of the arctic regions, but also the predominant harsh weather conditions that demand special requirements for humans and machinery. All ships intending to operate in these fragile ecosystems now must comply with the regulations of the Polar Code and apply for a Polar Ship Certificate.

So it is no surprise that the Polar Code touches a wide variety ship operation:

  1. design and construction of ship and equipment, e.g. stability, watertight and weather tight integrity
    1. operational requirements e.g. creation of a Polar Operational Manual
    1. training of crew especially for masters and commanding officers with regards to watch keeping according to STCW
    1. search and rescue operations
    1. pollution prevention and oil handling
    1. voyage planning and navigation

At the end of the article you will find the links to the regulations in full.

Air pollution regulations

A major driver for climate change and the connected warming of earth is air pollution. This includes all kinds of gases produced by ships through traditional combustions engines primarily used in shipping.

That is why IMO tries to reduce emissions in shipping on several levels. One notable change was the further amendment of resolution MEPC.176(58) for MARPOL Annex VI (in force since 1st July 2010). The new amendment in resolution MEPC.251(66) states that starting from 1st January 2020 all ships must comply with SOx control which limits the global sulphur limit to 0.50% (regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI). Though it gives exemptions for yachts:

  • Yachts solely used for recreational purposes of less than 500 GT and constructed before 1st January 2021 do not need to comply with the TIER III requirements.
  • Recreational yachts of less than 24 metres will not need to comply with TIER III even after 1st January 2021.

Another change in Annex VI concerns the installation of equipment containing ozone-depleting substances. According to chapter 12 the new installation of such equipment will be prohibited on all ships constructed on or after 1st January 2020 and on all ships constructed before 1st January 2020 with equipment deliver on or after 01.01.2020.

These new regulations have to be reflected in ship’s certificates (generally all ships over 399 GT) and engine certificates (all engine of more than 130 kW power output.

Another emission control established under chapter 13 is NOx emission control for special areas like the Baltic Sea and the North Sea (MEPC.286(71)) that applies also for ships above 24m and below 500 GT. All new ships who want to travel these special areas are required to have a TIER III engine. Although exceptions for special trips (refits etc.) apply. A proposal from ICOMIA to mitigate the implementation of emission control on smaller vessels was rejected in the IMO meeting held from 13.-17. May 2019.

There are many more regulations coming into force in the future. The above regulations were only a small selection of them. Always stay informed by visiting

How can yachts and especially you as a crew help to save the environment?

There are numerous initiatives out there who seek to clean the oceans from all the waste that is constantly produced by our society. Below you will find a few links that give you an idea on how you can participate in this process and can support others.

Start changing your everyday life:

  • use reusable plastic and avoid disposable articles, but best would be try to avoid plastic at all
  • buy and eat sustainable seafood
  • manage your waste and properly dispose hazardous materials
  • try to reduce energy consumption → reduce CO2 emissions
  • do not leave garbage at the beaches and always collect it

And here are some notable projects you can support or join:

  • The Adventure Scientists: This side tries to involve people in the collection of data for scientific projects at universities and institutes. Look at projects they are offering (present and past) and see if you can participate in the data collection that will help science. A great project from the past was the collection of water sample to investigate the concentration of micro plastics in the oceans
  • The Ocean Clean-up Project: Everyone heard about this and similar projects. Although the first testing phase was not a success this project gives hope for the future to maybe clean our oceans.
  • Look at organisations like Ocean Conservancy , Oceana , Blue Marine Foundations or The Green Blue (just to name a few) They offer lots of programs and information to protect our oceans.

IMO Links

Ever wondered what we are doing if no one is watching?

Regular readers of our news flash already know the answer: We are working on a better product.

To give you some more proper insight here are the next planned changes just for the next release end of quarter 2 in 2019:


  • Stock history for idea
    • All items will get a storage, no magic quantity in the “void”
    • All stock changes will be looked in a readable and trackable manner
    • IDEA will know:
      • Who changed
      • Why was it changed
      • When was it changed
      • What and how much was changed
      • Where was the change performed (storage)
      • Reference to the element that triggered the change (maintenance task, purchase)
      • Comment
  • Upgrading existing date into the new structure
  • Add required functions for purchase upgrade
    • Budget system
    • Custom purchase states
  • Update old purchase data into the new structure
  • Vessel shopping cart
  • Mobile App updates
    • Logs and rounds
    • Vessel database
    • Maintenance data


  • Stock history usage in all system parts
  • Upgrades for the purchase views and related functions
  • Invoice data for purchases
  • Receive items manually into different storages


  • Update all related reports for PO and stock management
  • Bug fixes / smaller changes
  • Finalizing and intern test for the new App (engineering part) , closed beta start of July
You would like to know more about the changes, keen to see first glances of the new stock control module, wondering how the look and feel of the new mobile app is?? READ FURTHER!

IDEA Yacht Stock control – the make over!

In the current state a lot of changes happen in the backend, screenshots are rare good right now. Nevertheless below are some early state views for the stock history page and the state editor for purchase.

The new purchase page itself will show up next month but will follow the concept of the new permission page. Overview about your states on the left, right side table with purchase orders in the related state.

Details for a purchase order are on a new detail page with different tabs for each part of a purchase.

stock history
Purchase state editor
Purchase state editor – overview
Purchase order state detail page

First new IDEA mobile preview

Our new mobile app is heading in the right direction, below  are two screenshots showing the current dashboard and the round screen.

IDEA mobile UI

Easter Wishes & Greetings


Stand up and cheer, for Easter is here. Happy Easter!

The whole IDEA Team wishes you fulfilling, joyful and relaxing Easter holidays with your family and friends.

We are using the Easter weekend to prepare for the first event of the Mediterranean season: the 36th Palma Superyacht Show in Palma de Mallorca, from 27. April until 1. May 2019.

IDEA will join the ranks of exclusive exhibitors in the city harbor of Moll Vell in the center of Palma to be part of this special event and its energetic atmosphere.
We will seize the opportunity to introduce the latest version of IDEA Yacht, which increases the user friendliness by optimizing input screens and window scalability. We also worked hard to reduce loading times to provide you with a better user experience.

You can expect more innovations from us in 2019!

Please visit us at our booth YS07 to receive more information on IDEA YACHT, to test our software and to discuss future developments with one of our team members.

Please do not hesitate to contact us ( if you want to schedule a meeting.

I am looking forward to seeing you in Palma!

Best regards,
Felix Menges (Sales Manager)

Newsletter April

New IDEA Yacht update 2019.1

In the past months we received a lot of feedback from our clients. This feedback is very valuable to us as a company as it shows what we do well and where we have to improve. For our first update in 2019, we decided making it “your version” by concentrating on your improvement and feature requests and implementing as many as we can. The results can be seen in IDEA Yacht version 2019.1.

Please find some of the highlights of this update

Horizontal layout

The two pictures below illustrate the difference between a vertical layout and a horizontal layout:

(Img 1: Vertical layout / version 2018.4)

(Img 2: Horizontal layout / version 2019.1)

The change has many benefits for you as a user. A lot of whitespace between the lines is eliminated which means that more information can be displayed in the same amount of space. This results in a better overview and less scrolling.

Improved input screens

Until now, the input screens within IDEA yacht were still based on the old IDEA.NET user interface which was replaced last year. As a result, they were hard to navigate and it was even harder to grasp all the information presented in this screen. We designed new input screens throughout the program that are more structured and easier to handle.

(Img 3: Ticking of a maintenance task)

New permission manager

The permission manager received a complete overhaul. The old version did not go along with the new design and was difficult to use. All permissions were on a single page which resulted in a lot of scrolling. This new version creates a simpler overview and a new toggle feature enhances the usability of this module.

(Img 4: Permission Manager)

Some other improvements include:

– Improved scalability of windows through removal of iframes and implementing responsive design, resulting in better viewing from tablets.
– Spare parts can be defined for “One-Time Tasks”
– Entries in the rotation log of the Crew & Guest Database can now be edited to correct false entries.
– and many more…

You can find the complete list of changes in this update here.

In the next update, we will continue to implement your ideas to make IDEA Yacht an even better software. We rely on your feedback, good and bad. Please let us know your thoughts and ideas by sending an email to

Introduction to Maintenance Methodologies

Maintenance is a widely used concept in all industries today. In the yachting industry, most vessels use preventive maintenance as their method of choice. However, there are more methodologies in use than just preventive maintenance. In our latest article, we would like to introduce you to the history of maintenance and give you an overview of the most common maintenance methodologies. You can read the full article here.

So stay tuned!
Carolin Eidecker & Daniel Wolthausen


To computer based maintenance over time

The history and current state of maintenance

Tools and machines have been used for a long time by humans to simplify daily routines. Think about spears for hunting in the bronze age or using simple cranes to construct monumental buildings like the Colosseum in ancient Rome. During all this time these tools were only repaired when they broke. Maintenance was non-existent. Over time this changed.
Maintenance is now an important part of daily routines in all industries and modes of transport. Companies today are aware of the fact that proper maintenance of machinery reduces costs and increases longevity. In the long run, adequate maintenance ensures quality production and transport.
Over the years, maintenance methods have evolved in virtually all industries. Modern methods have been tailor made to the specific needs of each industry. At the same time, if you take a step back and look the bigger picture of many maintenance systems, it becomes clear that most of the systems in use are based on similar principles. The following paragraphs briefly outline these basic maintenance strategies, how they evolved over time and what changes you can expect in the future.

Maintenance before the 1950s

The initial turning point in maintenance history was marked by the end of the second World War. This war triggered a lot of technological advancements such as the jet engine which forced engineers to reconsider their maintenance approaches.
Before World War II, machinery was quite simple and carefully engineered which made it very reliable. Consequently, there was no need for daily maintenance. Maintenance was only performed when a failure was detected. This maintenance approach was called Break-Down-Maintenance (BDM) or Corrective Maintenance (CM). Due to the nature of this maintenance method, no factory personnel were dedicated specifically to equipment maintenance. Defective parts were often replaced by workers only when dysfunction appeared. As a result, long production delays due to missing spare parts were quite common yet unpredictable, disturbing production and delivery schedules. This maintenance approach was very simple and cheap, but in the long run, highly ineffective as it caused unexpected production delays and cost companies a lot of money.
In the mid 40s, machinery became more complex. Driven by the war, there were many technological advancements in a very short time. The aviation industry in particular saw many changes caused by the development of the jet engine. Based on this new technology, a whole new generation of airplanes was developed for commercial aviation. These new airplanes were far more complex than those being used before the war. With the increasing complexity of equipment, more and more malfunctions occurred and more repair work had to be done.
The industry reacted and introduced new forms of maintenance methods that rendered BDM nearly obsolete. Today, BDM is hardly used anymore.

Maintenance from the 1950s to present

Confronted with more complex machinery, engineers had to develop new methods to maintain the equipment and make it more reliable. This led to the development of a process called Preventive Maintenance (PM) which is still used by many industries today.
PM is probably the most common maintenance method today. With preventive maintenance, all maintenance jobs follow a fixed schedule, typically created by the equipment manufacturer. Suggested maintenance intervals are usually based on time (e.g. every two weeks) or running hours (e.g. every 50 hours). Intervals based on fuel consumption, for example, are far less common.
Following a fixed maintenance schedule greatly extends the equipment lifespan, minimizes unexpected malfunctions and reduces production delays.
The downsides of preventive maintenance are high. Sometimes this includes unnecessary costs and large amounts of time that must be invested to cover all maintenance work. Parts such as gaskets are often exchanged during routine maintenance even if they are not worn.
Despite these disadvantages, PM helps to keep machinery (yachts included) in good and safe condition and outweighs the invested time and costs by far compared to doing no PM at all.
The disadvantages mentioned above regarding added labor time and costs involved were the reasons why the aviation industry started searching for different way to perform maintenance in the 1950s.

Maintenance driven by the aviation industry

Shortly after preventive maintenance was introduced to the aviation industry, airplane manufacturers realized that this maintenance method was not sufficient. The industry had high hopes to reduce equipment failure by a large margin using this new process. However, in contrast to other industries where preventive maintenance had a big impact, aviation companies did not observe a significant decrease of equipment failure, even though they spent much more time on maintenance and exchanging parts which resulted in higher costs for airplane maintenance. As a result, aviation companies, frustrated by ongoing equipment failures, analysed maintenance records in the 1960s to find reasons for this. The results were astonishing. Contrary to the assumption that more failures occur with greater age of parts, researchers found that failures appeared randomly over time. They realized that they had to change their maintenance approach to reduce equipment failure. They developed a methodology based on several equipment factors e.g. reliability characteristics, impact of failure and operating environment to name a few. That is why this method was called Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM).
Measures were taken on the basis of this data analysis resulting in a massively reduced number of maintenance jobs without increasing risk of failure of equipment. The impact of this new maintenance approach can be illustrated by the comparison of the Boeing DC-8 and 747-100. The old Boeing DC-8 being maintained following traditional PM needed roughly 4.000.000 labour hours before reaching 20.000 operating hours. The more complex 747-100 following RCM only needed 66.000 labour hours to reach the same operating hours (maintenance white paper).
As you can see the impact of this new approach in preventive maintenance in the aviation industry was immense, along with its methodology regarding maintenance schedules, reducing failure rates and maintenance costs drastically. That is why the US Department of Defense’s attention was drawn to this methodology. The DoD helped to improve and standardize RCM in the following years and started to use it in all divisions of the armed forces. Today the term RCM is protected and owned by the Aladon Network.
Closely related to RCM is Risk Based Inspection (RBI). This method is very similar to RCM. It combines the concept of failure identification and risk evaluation to create a maintenance program suitable for a complete system such as a ship or an oil rig.
Although being very effective maintenance methods, both RCM and RBI need a lot of data and initial work to turn them into an effective preventive maintenance program for a technical system such as an airplane or a navy vessel. During the setup process, a dedicated team will have to work full time on this topic and follow a standardized process. This is why both concepts are most commonly used in complex environments with high safety standards.
The methods described above, PM, RCM and RBI, are the current state of modern maintenance, but new maintenance methods are already being introduced and used.

The future of maintenance

In recent years there were several technological advancements that introduced the opportunity to develop new kinds of maintenance approaches. First of all, processing power in modern computers has increased greatly in the last 10 to 15 years. This progress made it possible to introduce new technologies such as machine learning to the broad mass of users. Other important drivers for new maintenance systems are the miniaturization and price reduction of sensors and the possibility of sensors to communicate with other sensors and systems (Internet of Things, IoT).
Based on these new technologies, Condition Monitoring (CM) / Predictive Maintenance find their way into all kinds of different industries, e.g. commercial shipping and aviation).
CM is constantly monitoring the condition of machinery with the goal of finding defects and identifying the root cause of failure. The collected data is compared to reference values for the equipment, for example, an optimal working temperature range for an engine. If the system detects deviations from this specified range, it triggers pre-defined maintenance tasks (e.g. visual inspections, part changes etc.) best fitted to the collected values. Machine learning helps to make this process more accurate and reliable over time. The more data that is collected, the better the maintenance.

The role of PMS systems in modern maintenance

Modern PMS systems like IDEA Yacht support users to maintain equipment in several ways and help to keep a vessel safe at all times.
Maintenance information can be put into the PMS system and tasks can be triggered when certain time based intervals, hour counter based intervals and/or certain conditions are being reached. Crew members are informed about the upcoming tasks and all the work that has been done is documented to help later on in potential investigations or audits.
The constant improvement of PMS systems ensures that a variety of maintenance methodologies including CM can be used on board.

For further information, please refer to the following links:
Reliability Centered Maintenance: Aladon Network
Navy RCM Handbook
Future Technologies in shipping

Stay Interested!
Daniel Wolthausen (Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing.(FH) & MSc)
IDEA Product Manager


Since its initial software development in 1999, after nearly two decades, IDEA Data Solutions GmbH is finally forced to announce the discontinued support of the first comprehensive Yacht Management Solution, IDEA VIO. When IDEA was founded 18 years ago, daily threats to data security were a fraction of what they are today.

Due to security and compatibility concerns, we will discontinue the support for IDEA VIO by the end of 2019. Official development of this product already stopped in 2012, but we still provided debugging to keep it compatible with Windows 7 and third party software. Since official support for Microsoft Windows 7 is ending soon, we cannot guarantee continued function and security of IDEA VIO because Microsoft will not provide further security updates for this operating system. Additionally, IDEA VIO was not designed for modern operating systems like Windows 10 that use completely different technologies.


It is possible that your computer systems might be vulnerable to future hacking attempts through unpatched security issues in Windows 7 or that IDEA VIO will stop working due to updates by third party software. In either case, you will not be able to access your data anymore.


I would like to introduce you to the successor of IDEA VIO, IDEA Yacht, which is constantly improved and platform independent. Like IDEA VIO, it can be installed on your ship’s server, but it will not need to be installed on other computers. IDEA Yacht can be accessed from any device on your vessel using a web browser and we also have an app for iOS and Android to simplify use on mobile devices.

Here are some more advantages of IDEA Yacht compared to IDEA VIO:
• modern interface compatible with all operating systems
• additional functionality such as a calendar for a better overview, improved rounds for all departments
• no client setup needed; just use the browser to access your data
• and many more …

You can have a look at IDEA Yacht on our demo page.


We are offering you the update of your existing IDEA VIO software to the latest IDEA Yacht version for free. We would only charge €500 to cover our costs for converting your database into the new format and installing the software on your server.

Additionally, purchasing a valid support plan for IDEA Yacht is necessary. The support plan will give you access to at least 4 updates of our software per year including constant improvements and new functionality and grants you full and immediate support (e.g. telephone, email and remote) by our customer care department.

Please try out our demo and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Felix Menges
IDEA Sales Manager

Newsletter March

Release Update

2019 is still young but we are already working hard on the announcement of our first update of the year. To achieve this, we gathered a lot of feedback over the last few months and tried to integrate as many improvements as possible, including suggestions and feature requests from our clients. Consequently, you can expect many enhancements to the user experience of IDEA YACHT. The next version will be available by the beginning of April 2019.
This certainly does not mean that we have already reached all of our goals for 2019; further developments and improvements are coming soon. This update is just the beginning of several new features for IDEA YACHT. Stay curious and expect cool things for the rest of 2019.
Until then, please keep sending us feedback and suggestions on IDEA YACHT. This helps us to further improve IDEA, making it even more invaluable for all of our clients.

Company Insights

Although we are a software company that has developed products in-house for nearly 20 years, even we have to rely on tools to help us with our daily tasks. One of these tools is a help-desk software called Freshdesk, developed by Freshworks. Freshdesk supports our customer care staff in keeping track of your requests and helps them to respond as quickly as possible.
Whenever you contact us via email (, a new support ticket is automatically generated within our Freshdesk system. The ticket is immediately assigned to one of our customer care agents who will take over your request. Freshdesk has reduced our average response time to new requests to less than 4 hours. Most of the tickets are resolved in less than 24 hours. This would not be possible without the right tools to support our great team.
As a client, you can easily check the status of your ticket in our support portal. Additionally, the portal gives you the option to read through a growing number of FAQs, manage your open support tickets or create a new one. Freshdesk was designed to streamline the customer support process for both customers and providers and we are confident that you will be satisfied with the increased efficiency.

Newsletter February 2019

In our first newsletter in 2019 we would like to give you an outlook on our plans for 2019 and introduce our latest software release for IDEA Yacht.

The roadmap 2019

During the last years we saw a much faster development on all aspects of software, especially with regards to browsers and operating systems. That is why we decided to intensify our efforts to update our code basis to ensure future compatibility with browsers and operating systems.
Apart from this we proceed to improve our new user interface based on the feedback we received from all our clients and introduce new / improved functions in certain parts of IDEA Yacht. The focus here is on stock control and log and rounds.
It will be a busy year for our development team to implement everything that is currently planned, but we are certain to present you a lot of new features and improvements in 2019.
Nevertheless do not hesitate to get in touch with our team if you have ideas for a new feature or an improvement for IDEA Yacht. This helps us to develop a useful tool to support you in your daily work.

IDEA Yacht version 2018.4 release

At the beginning of January we have released IDEA Yacht version 2018.4. Besides a lot of improvements on the user interface and some bug fixes, we implemented a new brand new forms functionality as part of safety documents module. A user can now create, manage and fill-out forms directly at the screen and save it in a history for easy access during a survey.
The roll-out of this update for our online clients has already started. Our replicator customers will be contacted soon to update their installation. All our clients with a valid support contract are eligible to the update and can request the update file:

Tech corner

Nowadays technology is evolving at an ever faster pace introducing new gadgets and devices on a weekly basis. One of the technologies with the biggest impact on our daily lives is the Internet of Things (IoT). It is already changing our lives without being noticed by a lot of us. Please read more about this technology in our short introductory article on our news blog.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most disruptive technologies of our time. Most of us already use devices that are part of IoT on a daily basis without even noticing. IBM, as one of the largest global players in modern technologies, defines IoT as “any object with embedded electronics that can transfer data over a network — without any human interaction.” Most of us know IoT devices as so called smart devices, like your smartphone, loudspeakers or lights that can be adjusted using an app on your phone.
Closely connected to IoT are two additional technologies that cause a big stir in the technology community are Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning. All three technologies combined have the potential to change the way we live and interact in the future completely.
IoT devices with all their sensors collect a huge amount of data and often send it to the device manufacturer or a service provider. This data can be analysed for patterns and the results can be used to for example forecast traffic in city areas or predict flu outbreaks in a specific area (Big Data Analytics). Special learning algorithms throughout the analytics and prediction process help finetuning predictions (machine learning). These technologies can be used to analyse data on a wide scale for example for a smart city and narrowed down to autonomous driving and offering services for an individual.

What does this technology mean for your live onboard a yacht?

IoT is sometimes already changing the way of working onboard a state-of-the-art yacht and future projects will make more and more use of IoT. Devices in all areas of the vessel can be equipped with sensors that interconnect the equipment and provide data that can be used to run the yacht more efficiently. All areas of the ship will be affected from navigation to engineering and interior. Here a few examples how your life can be affected by IoT.

Navigation/Deck: Sensors collect environmental data all over the ship e.g. wind and weather data data, water data (temperature, current speed and direction etc.), traffic data of the surrounding sea area. This data is constantly analyzed and compared with the route planning. Based on the results the system can automatically change course to optimize fuel consumption. Ultimately this function will result in fully autonomous yachts.

Engineering: equipment suppliers start implementing new sensors into their machinery to better observe machinery data. Based on this data they propose maintenance tasks. These new sensors and smart devices for entertainment installed all over the ship bear new tasks for the engineers and the ETO with regards to maintenance. Computer knowledge will become more important in daily work.

Interior/Galley: A lot of tech companies will provide a variety of integrated entertainment and luxury systems to increase the comfort for guests and crew onboard. Crew must familiarize with more complex systems in guest areas and galley. To name a few examples: lighting connected to entertainment systems and speec recognition, smart, self cooking kitchen equipment with automatic order procedures and a lot more.

All these developments promise a completely new user and guest experience onboard a modern superyacht, but, as it is often with new technologies, it bears also new threats to the users.

Challenges and threats

Despite the nearly endless posibillities of IoT to improve our everyday life there are great threats to security and privacy that must be addressed.
At the moment IoT for private and industrial use is still at the beginning of it‘s development. Although there are already a lot of smart devices on the market there is a no real common standard for the data exchange between the devices. Currently there are still a variety of concurrent transfer methods on the market. In consequence you always have to carefully check if a new device is compatible to your existing system.
On all trade fairs manufacturers introduce new devices or a new revision of an existing device and extend their product portfolio in this way. Therefore the devices are often still very expensive and requires high investments to keep the systems up-to-date. Something that is state-of-the-art today can be obsolete in a year. This lifecycle is even shorter than that for smartphones.
Despite the fast developments the biggest problem at the moment is the lack of security. All devices are embedded into the ship‘s computer network and are even reachable over the internet. A lot of studies and hacking attempts showed that the devices are still quite easy to access from outside and steal data. Although the manufacturers are not getting tired to assure that their devices are secure. Especially yachts handle and store private data of guest that must be secured at all times. Smart devices can be used to penetrate the network‘s security to get access to computer‘s onboard.

Best regards
Daniel Wolthausen
Product Manager IDEA Yacht & Customer Care Manager

IoT in general
Smart Cities
Smart Home
Smart Lightning hack