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Staying safe on the water with the Internet of Things and BoatSecure

Imagine this: you’re far out at sea. Alone. In a boat. And it’s sinking.

Ok, so that’s bad. And the thing is, it started sinking before you ventured far from the harbour you began your voyage in.

Such things do happen – and the results can be tragic. But now, clever tech has found its way to sea, alerting boaties and fleet managers to problems with their boats before they sink, lose power or come off their moorings.

BoatSecure is a mobile monitoring system which offers a cost-effective way to monitor the safety and security of boats, 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world. The system uses long range, Internet of Things (IoT) technology to give boat owners information from sensors connected to their boat’s electrical system. The sensors constantly check that batteries are charged and at the right voltage, the bilge pump is operating normally, and the boat has not strayed via GPS-tracking. Small amounts of data, from these sensors, can now be transmitted over large distances via the Spark LoRaWan network.

Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), the data is ingested, stored and analysed on IoT Ventures software framework. If the analysis, identifies any issues, or something unintentional or unexpected occurs, the owner or designated responder is sent an immediate alert via the Boat Secure app, straight to their smartphone.

Matt Hector-Taylor, co-founder and director of New Zealand company IoT Ventures – who developed BoatSecure with entrepreneur and BoatSecure business owner John McDermott – says the tech has the potential to save many lives.“There are 600,000 watercraft in New Zealand, including 10,000 in Auckland moored in marinas and estuaries. That’s a lot of potentially worried boat owners, harbour masters and insurers. With the potential size of the problem we’re trying to solve, we chose to build our business on AWS because it gave us confidence we could scale the service as our business scales.”

Tim Dacombe-Bird, New Zealand country manager for AWS, is also excited about the potential. “Boating is one of New Zealand’s most iconic industries. To see BoatSecure and IoT Ventures innovating for their customers by using AWS is further evidence of the positive impact the cloud is having on supporting the New Zealand economy. AWS is working with our customers to not only retire their technical debt but to enable innovations to come to life through the democratisation of technology, once only available to large multi-national organisations, and this initiative by BoatSecure and IoT Ventures is a great local New Zealand example of that innovation.”

BoatSecure has been used by Beacon Marine Electronics since August 2017. It is commercially available in Aotearoa now, and will be launched in Australia and North America in the next 3-4 months.

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