NMEA Talks System Integration at IBEX

August 30, 2016

NMEAWith just a little over a month before we all head to IBEX in Tampa, I have only a couple more blog posts about our education partners. I've written in this blog about show co-owner Professional BoatBuilder magazine, as well as ABYC and ABBRA. Next week, I plan to tackle NMMA's lineup of seminars.

This week, however, I'd like talk about the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA). I'll admit I'm running a bit long with this post. I know the least about electronics and therefore I tend to research it the most.

Although I have been working with IBEX since the mid-1990s—in fact, I started my career in the marine industry as a proofreader for the IBEX directory—I have not worked directly with NMEA until this year. For that reason, I consider them to be a "new" education partner, even though that's not the case. They have been very active in developing their IBEX seminars this year, which comes as no surprise considering the training and education they are involved in, such as their on-site and online training for installers and marine electronics technicians, as well as its recent certification-training partnership with ABYC.

Automatic Identification Systems
This year, NMEA brings Johnny Lindstrom, a long-time NMEA instructor, to IBEX to discuss Automatic Identification Systems otherwise known as AIS, which should not be confused with Aquatic Invasive Species, a topic ABYC and NMMA plan to cover during one of IBEX's free Tech Talk Workshops on Wednesday, October 5, at IBEX.

The question here, of course, is why do Automatic Identification Systems matter? In short, it's a valuable navigational and safety feature for recreational boaters. Ships and commercial fishermen have been using AIS as a method to steer clear of one another, and AIS has been used to generate virtual, on-screen hazard markers over ledges and rocks. Most recently, the America's Cup applied AIS technology to chart race courses. It's only a matter of time before recreational boaters view this as a standard plug-in or utility. Do your electronics personnel understand how it all works and can you speak intelligently about it to your customers?

Wireless ElectronicsConnected Boat
NMEA's seminar on Wireless Electronics with a panel of experts from TUI Marine, Vodafone Americas, Navico, and Cummins is a favorite of mine. You've probably heard about the "Internet of Things" or IoT. The level of wireless connectivity between ourselves and our surroundings has become nearly routine. We are constantly inputting information, but computers communicate with other computers at a rate beyond human ability and can report back to a service yard data-driven diagnostics on a vessel. Think about any high-end vehicle that sends data to the manufacturing hub. How exactly does this apply to boatbuilders and repairers?

Digital Switching and System Integration
Along the lines of multi-functionality on a boat, NMEA brings us Digital Switching and System Integration with Pete Braffitt. The Multi-Function Display (MFD) is becoming the central nervous system of the modern boat. Learn how a multitude of "digital switches" can come up on a display and turn ON and OFF everything from navigation lights to ice makers. Peter will go over the accessories needed to make this work for your customers' specific applications, from simple to complex. These days, customers are accustomed to everything happening in an instant, at the push of a button or a click of a switch. But, when that doesn't work, those customers are inconvenienced, in that very same instant. Suddenly, the cutting-edge tool that sold someone on a product is the very same reason they walk away from that product. Your team needs to know the intricacies of this type of system integration so this doesn't come back to bite you in the...foot.

Installing Modern Audio Controls
I've saved NMEA's most popular seminar (thus far) at IBEX 2016: Installing Modern Audio Controls with Alan Wenzel of JL Audio. This seminar gets into the nitty gritty of audio equipment and integration on a vessel. People love to crank their tunes as they speed out to a productive fishing spot or anchor up on a hot day at the local swimming hole. But this requires plenty of planning and engineering on your part. Alan will likely touch upon NMEA 2000 in this seminar, which will also be discussed in-depth during Digital Switching and System Integration, mentioned above. Let's give your customers what they want—kicka$$ stereo sound and no hassles.

NMEA Super Session
Remember to also sign up for the NMEA Marine Electronics Installer (MEI) Super Session with John Barry on Monday, October 3, the day before IBEX opens. The MEI program promotes a high level of professional expertise in entry-level and mid-level technicians. This is an introductory course in marine electronics installation that clarifies and defines competent installation practices, regardless of equipment manufacturer.

Register for any of the above seminars and Super Session by September 9 to get the lowest rates. If you do register prior to September 9, enter promo code SEP to win $50. We also offer discounts on companies that register three or more people, as well as huge incentives for students enrolled in marine schools.

-Sarah Devlin
IBEX Education Director

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