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  NAVICO WiFi, iLog, and SDK

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Author Topic:   NAVICO WiFi, iLog, and SDK
jharrell posted 10-03-2012 01:24 PM ET (US)   Profile for jharrell  
[I separated this topic from a general discussion of the new Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch devices--jimh]

I am very interested to see what the new NAVICO WiFi module will do. It would be really nice to transfer information to my iPhone and iPad and perhaps even do system updates the other way along with live information.

Really though when is the Sonic Hub going to get built in Bluetooth for music streaming, or perhaps AirPlay for streaming music via WiFi. I have this in my truck and I would really like to use iTunes and Pandora on the boat as well without wires.

jimh posted 10-03-2012 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am looking for more information about WiFi and the new HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen units.

So far, all I have found about WiFi is this press release comment:

quote:
NEW! Wireless Connectivity (available Q1 2013)
GoFree™ WiFi-1 module compatible via Ethernet, when combined with a GoFree Wireless app provides remote viewing and control of HDS Gen2 Touch on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

From that short sentence it appears the WiFi connectivity will be implemented in an external module that will connect via Lowrance's Ethernet network to the HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen device. Lowrance will then provide an application that will allow an HDS Gen2 Touch Screen device (and perhaps only certain ones) to be remotely viewed and controlled using either an Apple iOS device like an iPhone or iPad or an Android OS device.

K Albus posted 10-03-2012 02:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Here's a link to the WiFi-1 module on the Simrad website: http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-GB/Products/ NSS-Touchscreen-Navigation/WIFI-1-module-en-gb.aspx .
K Albus posted 10-03-2012 02:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
The link above takes you to the Great Britain section of the Simrad website. The MSRP for the WiFi-1 is listed at 199 pounds, which is more than $300.

Here's a link to the WiFi-1 module on the U.S. portion of the Simrad page - this will automatically open and begin playing a youtube video - http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-GB/Products/ GoFree-Wireless-Technology/

jharrell posted 10-03-2012 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
Wow. What really stood out about the WiFi module is the SDK will be open allowing third parties to communicate and write apps for the MFD's.

Since it shows that it can read and write data including controlling functions, if their provided app does not provide some feature a third party app may very well be able to implement it.

I wonder if this SDK will allow access to the NMEA 2000 network to interact with any device there-in with standard messages or if it will be massaged and reformatted into something else. They did show an example custom app with engine gauges so I assume the data is available in some format.

jimh posted 10-04-2012 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the additional hyperlinks to the information on WiFi.

There seems to be three substantial and distinct components of the new system:

--the WiFi radio base unit that will route data between the Lowrance Ethernet and attached WiFi clients;

--a software application that runs on both iOS and Android platforms that will provide a works-right-out-of-the-box solution for viewing and controlling Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch devices; and,

--a software development kit (SDK) that will allow other developers to produce application software that can utilize the WiFi link and the access available to the Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch devices.

In addition to the application previewed (in the linked video above) there also appears to be a general purpose boating application that would replace a ship's log as a repository of information and data about a vessel and its voyages. This is quite interesting because there was recently and almost concurrently an announcement from Mercury Marine of a similar application, designed to run on iOS devices, which could connect to Mercury Marine engines, collect data from them, and provide a framework for a boater to accumulate and organize data about their boat and its voyages. Mercury Marine made reference to their engineers having worked with NAVICO in developing new products. This makes me think that NAVICO has already granted a licene to Mercury Marine to use the NAVICO SDK to create the Mercury-branded vessel management software, WiFi access, and iOS device integration. In a press-release, Mercury Marine said:

quote:
"Every member of the team brought great ideas to the table, from our industrial design team working with Navico...."

jimh posted 10-04-2012 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
NAVICO calls their vessel data management and organizer the iLOG, or so it appears in the video (above) in a quick shot of the software in use. They also mention explicitly that "other manufacturers" will be able to use their software tool kit to customize their presentations, showing a data display customized for SUNSEEKER yachts in the same video. The glimpse we get of iLog looks very similar to the new Mercury Marine product. (See the link to Mercury Marine's Ship's Log application below--jimh.) I am betting that NAVICO has already licensed this to Mercury.
jimh posted 10-04-2012 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is a better link to the NAVICO video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ve3JI6exvZg

This opens the video in a player where you can control the playback. The iLOG application is shown about 1:09 into the recording.

jimh posted 10-04-2012 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I tracked down the new Mercury iOS Applet for their Smartcraft systems. It is called Ship's Log. Apparently users of the free iOS applet can share their ship logs in some sort of social network website hosted by Mercury Marine. There are some examples already posted. From the ones posted so far, I don't think the contributors have exploited the full potential of the medium. Here's what I mean. I don't think this sort of content is going to attract a lot of interest in sharing Mercury Marine Ship's Log entries as a social medium.
jimh posted 10-05-2012 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It looks like NAVICO does not intend their new WiFi access to be a one trick pony. They appear to already have a second application called REGATTA available. This is very briefly mentioned at 1:15 into the recorded presentation (linked above).
jharrell posted 10-26-2012 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
Panbo recently posted some very detailed and exciting information regarding the GoFree WiFi-1 module and it's SDK:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/10/navico_gofree_wifi1_the_0183_link. html

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/10/ navico_gofree_toolkit_developers_invited.html

I am a software developer by trade and it is very surprising to see how how open they are making this system to third party development. From what I have seen this is very unusual in the Marine MFD business.

It looks like at release they will be able to publish NMEA 0183 data out over ethernet for any third party app. So related to the various discussions about using a iPhone or iPad as another chartplotter, it will be able to get GPS data from the boats existing GPS system forgoing the need to have on in the iPad itself.

Beyond that they have addition tiers to be released over time. Tier 2 will be some sort of NMEA 2000 proxy, basically as a developer you will not be dealing with NMEA 2000 directly, but instead an equivalent protocol of Navico's design that then get translated back to the NMEA2K bus for full two-way communication. I guess this avoids some of the NMEA certification issues that exists if they simply bridged NMEA2K commands to TCP/IP. Smart, gives them some lock in for app developers and they can support other data besides NMEA2K if necessary.

Further tiers up through 5 will not be free to use and require app developers to negotiate cost as it will all such things as video streams of the MFD display themselves and full sonar and radar control and data. Tier 5 mentions file transfer, which I would imagine allows things like way-point transfer and perhaps the ability to upgrade the MFD's firmware right from an app, good stuff all though not free and at the highest tier of their model.

In my opinion they are doing all the right things both in hardware and software to make this happen and I predict it will be a big success.

jimh posted 10-26-2012 12:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
What I can't figure out is why Panbo is the only source of this information. If NAVICO wants to get this information out to people, maybe they ought to tell a few others besides Ben Ellison or three guys at a trade show.

I also thought it was curious that even though Lowrance and Evinrude have long been collaborators on NMEA-2000 devices such as the LM-400 and I-Command gauges, one of the first customizations of the NAVICO open interface was with Mercury!

The open-source nature of this project looks like a great idea (for a change) in marine electronics.

jharrell posted 10-26-2012 12:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
It also mentions the ability for the Go-Free to possibly connect to an existing WiFi network in the future, although not when first released, for internet access rather than simply creating it's own for data transfer.

This would allow the MFD's to get out to the internet themselves directly for such things as firmware updates, weather data, perhaps web pages and even music/video.

Most modern smartphones such as an iPhone have the ability to create a WiFi network that grant's any device connected to it access to the internet through the phones cellular connection. This is referred to as tethering and usually needs to be enabled on your cellular plan at an extra cost. Given that ability it is conceivable your boat MFD could access the internet through your smart phone while offshore to say display weather radar over the map among many other possibilities.

Just being able to upgrade the MFD's firmware over the internet while at home in my garage using my home WiFi would be a welcome feature.

Very exciting prospect.

jimh posted 10-26-2012 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here are direct links to NAVICO information on this topic:

GoFree Webpage
http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-US/Products/ GoFree-Wireless-Technology/GoFree-Toolkit/

GoFreeTM Tier 1 Data Networking Specification Revision 0.6
http://www.simrad-yachting.com/Global/Simrad-Yachting/Products/GoFree/ GoFree%20Tier%201%20Specification.pdf

GoFree Web Interface Specification
http://www.simrad-yachting.com/Global/Simrad-Yachting/Products/GoFree/ GoFree%20Tier2%20Toolkit%20(view%20only).pdf

jimh posted 02-03-2013 12:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The NAVICO WIFI-1 GoFree Wi-Fi accessory is described at

http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-US/Products/ NSS-Touchscreen-Navigation/WIFI-1-module-en-us.aspx

The installation manual is available at

http://www.simrad-yachting.com/Root/Simrad-Yachting-WIFI1/ WIFI-1_IG_EN-FR_988-10401-002_w.pdf

The WIFI-1 module connects to other NAVICO devices through the Ethernet network. The WIFI-1 does not have an NMEA-2000 network connection; it only has Ethernet.

The discounted retail price of the NAVICO WIFI-1 GoFree WiFi accessory is about US$200 to US$230. The device appears now to be available for sale from a number of retailers in the USA.

A independently-produced presentation demonstrates the use of the NAVICO WIFI-1 being used to remotely access a Simrad chart plotter:

http://youtu.be/nQ89zw7Rtxw

A NAVICO presentation (already mentioned in this thread) shows the features:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzHxk7o2xsc

jimh posted 02-03-2013 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In a press release on October 1, 2012, Lowrance said:

quote:
Navico’s GoFree Wireless module and apps for Lowrance displays are scheduled to be available for use with the HDS Gen2 Touch in early 2013. This innovative add-on hardware option provides wireless connectivity of multifunction systems, and fully interfaces with engine data, fuel information sensors and transducers, to name a few. When paired with the wireless module, users can download the GoFree Wireless apps on their iPhone, iPad and Android devices to remotely view and control their HDS Gen2 Touch displays.

Using the search feature provided by Lowrance on their own website, I could not locate any information about the WIFI-1 accessory from Lowrance or the designation "gofree". I tried following some links given in other NAVICO information, but those links just redirected to pages about the HDS Gen2 Touch. It appears the release of this feature or more information about this feature is still in the works for Lowrance.

kwik_wurk posted 02-04-2013 01:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for kwik_wurk  Send Email to kwik_wurk     
Here is a local WiFi module that is made in Seattle, WA. -- It does a lot of the items mentioned, and I have seen it in operation several times on a few boats.


http://dmkyacht.com/

jimh posted 02-04-2013 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The DMK WiFi accessory is $400, about double the price of the NAVICO device. At the moment, there seems to be only the provision to transport some data packets and then display them on an iOS device using an applet. There is no provision for remote viewing of the screen of a chart plotter or SONAR or remote operation of a chart plotter or depth sounder controls.
parsley72 posted 03-19-2013 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for parsley72    
The Navico iOS app is a full screen mirror and control for the MFD - any chart plotter, sonar or depth sounder controls that can be operated on the MFD can be used from the iDevice. The only thing that's blocked is the autopilot for safety reasons.
jimh posted 05-10-2013 08:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
NAVICO have brought their WiFi interface to the Lowrance HDS Gen 2 devices with the announcement of a recent firmware update package. Lowrance HDS Gen2 device can now use the GoFree WiFi interface and display their screens onto connected tablet or smartphone devices like the Apple iPad or iPhone. For more on this new feature or Lowrance devices, see

http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Products/Wireless/

jimh posted 05-10-2013 08:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Note that with the Lowrance HDS Gen-2 Touch devices, not only does the GoFree WiFi interface provide a display of the screen on the connected tablet device, but the connected tablet can control the HDS Gen-2 Touch device. The control is apparently implemented through the same touch-screen interface used on the HDS Gen-2 Touch devices.

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