Miami 2014, glass bridge everywhere


The Garmin and Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit won a lot of awards and shook up the competitors. I think it’s why Raymarine rolled out its nifty-seeming ECI-100 so quickly, and I suspect it motivated Mercury Marine to put together the clean “glass dash” above. The Simrad NSO evo2 driving those two MO19-T monitors is not only doing the boat’s CZone switching — even able to activate the four outboards — but its Mercury Vessel View app seemed a terrific interface to all those engines…


While we never got underway in the quad-powered center console, I began to buy Mercury’s claim that they’ve gone way beyond virtual analog engine gauges with both its own VesselView displays and especially the just announced Navico integration. The idea is to put essential info on one screen and abet it with automatic pop-ups and/or user customized sub windows. During the NSO demo we experienced clear engine fault alarms, managed cruise control, and even saw a backup camera pop up when the motors were shifted into reverse.
You need at least a VesselView4 display on a boat to monitor/control two outboards and to serve as a bridge between SmartCraft and the NMEA 2000 data Navico uses. But a VesselView7 — which is actually based on Simrad NSS7 hardware design and built by Navico — also has an Ethernet connection and can serve as a full navigation display. It’s unlikely that anyone would swap normal uses like I did on the Mercury show demo above, but consider how a single VesselView7 could provide both engine and nav screens on, say, a tuna tower.


There are many aspects to the glass bridge concept and though the Furuno TZT arguably led the display part with its multi-touch screen under edge-to-edge black glass, they don’t yet have a separate keypad for hard-to-reach screens or hard sea conditions. But it’s coming soon — see above — and it looks quite compact and able. It features a combined rotary knob and cursor joystick, and its shallow backside only has a USB cable to hook up.


Also, coming fairly soon, is a glass-style color autopilot head for Furuno’s line, and of course, the screen looks sharper than my show photo indicates. It seems obvious that similar color instrument displays will follow, but the Furuno reply on that hypothesis was just a grin.

KEP_color_monitor_control_cPanbo.JPGIf you want a multi-screen glass bridge with a bright 7-inch touchscreen that controls them all, KEP has you covered. The company has also become the U.S. distributor for various heavy duty NSI trackballs and keyboards.

Iris monitor.JPGIris Innovations was showing a new line of monitors in Miami. Glass bezel style versions will be coming soon, but these were already showing the interface style with touch panning of Iris Nightrunner nav cams and zoom controls hidden in the corners. I gather that small navigation computers with cue and slew camera integration are also part of what Iris is calling IceBridge.


Green Marine (on Panbo in 2010) was showing off all glass BridgeCommand monitors with a nice glassy feature: The on button is invisible under the logo, and you don’t see the flat red controls until you touch that button either. Unfortunately, a new color touch multi-monitor controller didn’t make the show, and it has WiFi and remote apps, too.


Smart phones and tablets are definitely part of the general glass bridge idea where boat systems are integrated together with multiple easy interfaces. The big press event announcing the partnership between Garmin and Mastervolt CZone also included Scout, the first boatbuilder to install the systems. Check out the clever holder that Scout designed for the iPad that comes with every boat. When the door-like mount is closed the charging iPad running the CZone app (or Garmin Helm app) it looks like it’s part of the down below control center.

And while the helm of Navionics’ founder Giuseppe Carnevali’s sailing cat doesn’t look glassy, I think the new Raymarine Plotter Sync — where fresh chart data, community edits, and routing moves easily from app to MFD, with tracks and sonar logs coming back to your cloud and beyond — is in the glass spirit. I look forward to trying it and writing about it soon.

Navionics Raymarine integration cPanbo.JPG

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

11 Responses

  1. Richard says:

    Yes Miami was interesting. We are building a new center console 32ft and are we think going NSO EVO2 as the NSE EVO2 is late in release. This is based on structure scan availability. Surprised Garmin has yet to introduce one rated for salt water use and that would integrate with 8215 MFDs

  2. HenryD says:

    I went to Miami looking to learn about the Icom 506 radio and to compare the Simrad/Furuno/Garmin product lines.
    I was surprised by Icom’s responses, and by the booths for Furuno and Garmin.
    The Simrad NSO evo2 is very impressive and the RS90 radio (although very expensive) is a very nice unit. Simrad is expecting to announce this spring the abilty to make DSC calls via the touch screen of the NSO.
    In talking to Maretron about there product line and new pricing plan, they were happy to explain all the great modules included in the new pricing but for existing customers they had no answer. Very disappointing to see a vendor that apparently does not need to worry about competition or their customers.
    The IRIS monitors and cameras are very nice units and as I understand it, they are made by the same company who makes the KEP and Green monitors.

  3. Kees says:

    Henry, US MSRP for the new RS90 VHF is advertised as $349, which doesn’t strike me as expensive for a VHF with builtin AIS receiver and a black box design?
    If that price is true it is 2-3 times less than what I paid for my RS82.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Kees, but that RS90 price of $349 unfortunately seems to be a big mistake. The press release says $899 — — and a couple of online stores have it at $799.
    HenryD, I’m fairly sure that neither KEP nor Green Marine are just re-branding off-the-shelf monitors. When IRIS actually publishes specifications for their monitors I’ll bet they don’t match either KEP’s or Green’s.

  5. Kees says:

    Ah, $899 would explain “expensive” πŸ˜‰

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Henry,
    I’m curious about what surprised you at the Icom, Furuno, and Garmin booths?
    But let’s please keep the conversation about Maretron’s new N2KView pricing to the entry that’s specifically about that:
    Also, I just found the press releases Iris gave me and their monitor partner is Litemax

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    It’s worth noting that the Simrad NSO evo2 package with twin 16-inch monitors won the Miami Innovation Award for Electronics:

  8. Howard says:

    Here is a already available remote keyboard/control for a TZ Touch system

  9. HenryD says:

    Have you heard any updates from Simrad on their NSO evo2 delays? I ordered the NSO evo2 Dual 16″ bundle, 4G radar, a pair of radios, and a few other pieces. So far Simrad has missed two shipment dates they had communicated to my local dealer. I contacted the Simrad rep in the area who spoke with the dealer today. Now the news from the dealer is June but he does not think it is likely Simrad will actually ship it then. Another person who contacted the dealer was told their is a software problem that could be holding up the shipment and the monitors are being delayed in Mexico.

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry to hear about that, Henry. I thought the NSO evo2 and MO16-T monitors were shipping, and I’d guess that quite a few have already. But Google Shopping for “Simrad NSO evo2 bundle” gets quite a few sources claiming “out of stock” so there may a real problem here. I will ask about possible delays but past experience suggests that info about situations like this is hard to find.
    Meanwhile I’m hoping to test an NSS7 combo and an NSS16 this season. The latter model isn’t scheduled to ship until sometime this month (with the NSS12 following in June) and I’ll report when the MFD’s actually arrive here.

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