SuperYacht Times was founded on the basis of collecting data and information on the superyacht industry. We started off with a stock photo library and soon after launched the leading media platform SuperYachtTimes.com. By providing the most accurate data, news and information we have made the superyacht industry a lot more accessible for yacht professionals and owners.
At the start of 2020 an opportunity arose to buy the superyacht infotainment system YachtEye. As we had shared an office with the YachtEye team we knew how the system worked and how popular it is, so we moved ahead and bought YachtEye.
YachtEye is a great product but it needed some work, as the usability for both the owner of the yacht and the crew was not up to today’s standards. When we bought the company it was at the start of all the Covid-19 lockdowns, so there was not really an opportunity to visit yachts and clients. We first completed several ongoing projects, some easy, some more challenging, but it was a great learning curve on what the challenges are and what could be improved, on the product, and also in the installation process.
Besides looking after all the YachtEye clients, we also started the process of figuring out what to do next. We knew we had to make several changes, but we had a technology team of one person and no idea what to do.
First thing we did was to speak to as many clients as possible on what they like, what they don’t like and what does not work at all. This took a while, as you can’t always speak directly to yacht owners and crew are busy, but thanks to our excellent network through SuperYacht Times, we were gradually able to interview several yacht owners.
At the same time we began to build our technology team. This was not just for the development of YachtEye, but also to utilise the global shift toward digital solutions that occurred during the pandemic. During this period we also built the first superyacht metaverse; SYT 3D, the first version of which was launched in April 2021.
So we were getting feedback from our clients, investing in new technology and our software team, but we realised we needed an advanced “AI engine” for the new YachtEye. Building it from scratch was possible, but would take too long. Then I met a very experienced and knowledgeable software developer, Fabian Tollenaar. Fabian had created a smart operating system for yachts called EsSense AI and it was not only that we needed that software, but Fabian was also the missing piece in our technology team. So we struck a deal, whereby we acquired EsSense AI and Fabian came onboard as our Technology Director.
Just after the METSTRADE 2022 we were ready to start on our journey. We had the right AI system as a backbone, we had the right team and we knew what our clients needed. While it all sounds very simple, changing an idea into a visual interface is a lot more challenging than expected, but luckily we have an outstanding creative team who work in both 2D and 3D.
At the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show, followed by METSTRADE 2023, we will present the next generation superyacht infotainment system, YachtEye AI. So, what sets it apart?
One of the major changes is that, thanks to the clever use of the AI system, YachtEye AI is self-sufficient. In the previous versions of YachtEye, the user needed to input data into the system, which the system then visually made available. Let’s look at it from the perspective of a yacht owner how the new YachtEye will improve their guest experience:
You are sitting on the bar on the sun deck of your yacht and the big TV is showing the YachtEye AI Dashboard. The system will, automagically, give you instant updates on everything that is happening around you.
Right now your yacht is passing Capri, the system will tell you that on your right hand side you can see the famous Faraglioni rocks, the Yacht Radar might detect that one of your friend's yachts is around the corner and pulls their yacht and location on the screen.
Arriving in the bay, the system will tell you about the cool things you can do here and pulls that data automatically from the SuperYacht Times destination and hotspot database.
At the end of the day, during dinner, it will give you a recap of the day with photos that have been uploaded by your kids with the YachtEye mobile app and it shows you the travel itinerary for the next day.
The next morning the system sends an alert to your phone that the engines have been started and the virtual engine room pops up on the big TV on the aft deck, while you are having breakfast, showing in real-time 3D what is happening. The energy dashboard displays all the metrics from the onboard systems.
Next up is the travel information of the day with cool things to do at the final destination. While the yacht starts cruising, the Yacht Radar pops up again and tells you which big new Feadship yacht is passing on the starboard side.
As you are always on the lookout for other yachts and you enjoy some yacht watching you grab the tablet with the YachtEye app and start exploring which other yachts are in the area with the clever Yacht Radar feature that connects AIS to the SYT iQ database.
At the end of the day the yacht is arriving in the port of Monaco and you are working from your onboard office with YachtEye showing on your TV. As the yacht enters the port the YachtEye system switches automatically to CCTV and shows you the bow of the yacht and the port of Monaco. Once she has been turned around in the port and starts docking backwards, the CCTV switches to the aft camera so you can watch the docking process.
While in your office you quickly login on the YachtEye webportal and in the Travel Inspiration section you find an article on the coolest things to do in Portofino. After reading it you decide to edit the itinerary and add an extra stop in Portofino the next day, which is automatically forwarded to the captain and crew and displayed on all YachtEye screens.
After returning home from an amazing vacation, you want to show your business partner the trip you have made and you pull up YachtEye in your office on the big TV that is hanging above the yachts model and you first check in on the current location of the yacht, before opening the Past Trips feature and show your business partner a cool animation of the trip you have made. On your way home from your office you are already making the next itinerary on your YachtEye mobile app and sharing it with your family, guests and the captain.
The above gives you a small impression of the cool things we can do with the new YachtEye. But it is not only that, we also make the life of the crew a lot easier. First of all we are building a destination database, with all the most popular places for yachts around the world, an overview of cool hotspots and inspiration of things to do. Secondly as the AI does most of the work there is very little work for the crew to get the best possible experience for the owner and guests.
Come and see us at the Monaco Yacht Show and/or METSTRADE to get a live demo of the new YachtEye AI. For more information contact Merijn de Waard.
Merijn de Waard