NMEA announces Technology Award, & shows some tech leg


The 2008 NMEA Convention in San Diego prompted many Panbo entries last October, and I’m hoping the return to Fort Myers this year will be at least as interesting.  One new feature of note is a Technology Award that will be judged by yours truly and three other BWI boating writers. The criteria will be “a combination of innovative design, benefits to boaters, practicality and value,” and the NMEA has wisely chosen to limit manufacturer entries to products that were not available for sale and delivery sixty days before the 2008 convention but are available sixty days before this show.  In other words, no vaporware please!

At any rate, I hope that lots of worthy products are entered — hey, it’s good exposure even if you don’t win — and that those companies which don’t win go easy on the humble scribblers who try to decide which product is best 😉  Also, if you’re in the biz but undecided about attending this year’s convention, let me note that the room rates are lowest I’ve ever seen for this fine resort/conference center, and the program seems more tightly organized than ever (in fact, I’m trying to figure out how to be in two places at once). Come on down!
   And while you’re at the NMEA site, you might appreciate the treasure trove of presentations I stumbled on there recently. This is a series of presentations given by NMEA techs at the May RTCM meeting, and they cover the organization’s latest efforts regarding NMEA 0183 — version 4 is here, with many AIS improvements plus something called TAG Blocks that I don’t understand yet — and NMEA 2000. The latter, both a presentation and a more detailed white paper, describe the work being done to make N2K a fully redundant IEC-acceptable big ship protocol, and also note some development goals like below.  Good stuff.


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.

7 Responses

  1. Sandy Daugherty says:

    Will any products from outside the pale of MNEA be considered?

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’d guess that only NMEA member companies can nominate products, Sandy, but it’s certainly not hard or expensive to join NMEA.

  3. NMEA Member says:

    That is especially true if a company actually wants to sell their product in the U.S. Market, which is the largest recreational boating market in the world.
    Indeed Sandy, what viable products and manufacturers exist that are not either NMEA Members or NMEA Certified in some way?

  4. Sandy Daugherty says:

    That was exactly the presumption I was afraid to hear.
    Did you know that the almighty AMA represents only 20% of the Doctors in the US, but presumes to speak for them all? Granted they are not a standards organization (except in certain certifications) and the NMEA is, and they do a great job at that.
    But we are discussing the commercial aspects of marketing marine electronics, judging competing products. The presumption that this side of the NMEA holds court on the merchantability of a product by virtue of their expertise in setting standards is non-sequitur. Its like a proud Father disclaiming the virtues of a particular birthing technique. He may have been there, and he may have had a gown, mask and cap on, but why the heck would we think he knows any more about giving birth than the mother? [manufacturer]
    Let me ask this: Is every manufacturer of Marine Electronics, here, or elsewhere around the world, a Corporate Member of NMEA?
    If you can’t say yes its no. If its no, lets quite pretending NMEA is the ultimate authority on the subject of whats good.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    For cripes sake, Sandy, it only costs $625 for a small company to join NMEA. Are you suggesting that a developer could have the resources to create the year’s best product in terms of innovation, practicality, value, and benefit to boaters, but not have $625 to join NMEA? Hello?
    Nor did the NMEA, nor I, nor anyone else, suggest it is the “ultimate authority” on what’s good. In fact, marine electronics is a significant category in three Innovation Awards judged by BWI members which NMEA has nothing to do with. Plus the DAME awards at METS, and probably others.

  6. Sandy Daugherty says:

    Just venting my antiestablishmentarianism, separating Church and State, using a different fork for dessert, etc.

  7. NMEA Member says:

    I’ve seen your complaints before about NMEA “Judging Competing Products”. Let me ask you, do you know who the judges are for the annual NMEA Awards for the various product categories at the NMEA Annual Conference?
    It seems like you are complaining that the NMEA plays favorites.

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