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Sailsense: the smart boat

Sailsense Analytics was created by sailing enthusiasts who have endeavoured numerous long distance sailing trips and who have traveled millions of miles by sea.

The client

Sailsense Analytics was created by sailing enthusiasts who have endeavoured numerous long distance sailing trips and who have traveled millions of miles by sea. This Belgian startup based in the heart of Europe is one of the most innovative European enterprises in terms of marine electronics. They offer a plug & play solution that continuously monitors boats’ navigational instruments. It uses powerful algorithms to provide fleet managers with an intuitive and precise overview of how their boat was used.

The match

Sailsense Analytics’ team combines a thorough understanding of the implications of boat maintenance worldwide with a strong expertise in Big Data, machine learning and information technologie in the broad sense. What it did not have in its midst were the necessary experts in hardware development to develop data sensors and the hub responsible for transferring information to the Sailsense-platform. Productize has the necessary expertise as well as experience in accompanying startups from the design phase of connected object prototypes on.

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The challenge

There are multiple challenges to overcome in this project. On the one hand they are of technological nature and on the other hand organisational challenges, considering the deadlines this project imposes.

On the technical side there was the complexity involved in building a high-performance local network between the portal (the hub) and the different sensors installed on the boat (the pods). Additional complexity resulted from the number of technologies that had to be integrated in the solution to guarantee global geographical coverage (LTE, 2G/3G, …) and from the numerous types of CAN interfaces that needed to be supported, … In addition, the project posed a very strict time constraint. We only had a few months to finalise a first version of the product.  

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The solution

Productize guided Sailsense in the aspects related to embedded electronics, from writing up the specifications of the product installed in the boats, to the choice of components, writing the firmware, the design and testing of the first prototypes, the first field tests and developing and industrialising the product in its entirety.

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Lessons learned

The deadlines imposed by this project pushed us to parallelise certain tasks and to work with a larger team than we have for most of our projects. A very important aspect in the context of this project is also that it has allowed us to expand our experience in terms of certification of products.

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