Internet of things on board for less than £200 and a little imagination

Internet of things on board for less than £200 and a little imagination

Internet of things on board for less than £200 and a little imagination

The tools for boat owners to develop their own IoT projects are now more available than ever before

With the summer yachting season coming to a close, boat tracking and Internet connectivity specialist YB Tracking is aiming to give boat owners something to do throughout the dark winter months – start using their creativity and ingenuity to build the Internet of Things (IoT) into their boats, using the low-cost Iridium powered YB3i and RockBLOCK systems.

It’s relatively simple stuff with helpful guides and communities online willing to help budding IoT developers out. The explosion in private development of M2M and IoT applications for everything from space balloons to weather stations is in part due to the cheap availability of tiny computers such as the Raspberry Pi and Intel’s Arduino platform. Linked to a low cost communications system like YB3i, which has global coverage, boat owners can be connected to their pride and joy for minimal cost, even from dry land.

YB3i is a lightweight, compact and low-cost boat tracking system with some highly unique functionality, including wireless SMS and email messaging from personal devices even when out of mobile signal range. But as Northern Hemisphere boat owners batten down the hatches for winter, YB Tracking is highlighting the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) data functionality of the system, which can be used to literally automate anything on a boat, from security to air conditioning.

YB Tracking’s sister company Rock Seven, has condensed YB3i’s M2M communication functionality even further. The £179.99 RockBLOCK device is a pure M2M communication system, which can be plugged directly into a Raspberry Pi computer. This mini-revolution in personal computing can be found on auction sites for as little as £10 or brand new for £25. Together, it’s all the hardware needed to kick-off a homebrew IoT project for the sea.

Nick Farrell, Director at Rock Seven has been developing boat tracking and Iridium-based communication systems since 2004: “Low-cost M2M communication has spawned a whole new ‘maker scene’, where inventors, tinkerers and the technically minded don’t sit around waiting for the big firms to make the technology they need for their hobbies and interests. They make it themselves and there’s nothing stopping boat owners joining the wave and coming up with their own maritime specific projects.

“What you can do with a Raspberry Pi connected to low-cost satcom is really only limited by the imagination, and we feel that IoT development is set to become very popular with boat owners in the coming years.”