About this project
FloatHub is peace of mind for boaters. It combines hardware and software to let you know what's going on with your vessel, especially when you can't be on board.
Our project video highlights the main benefits of FloatHub, but it's important to understand that it is both a physical device you install in your boat and a set of services that allow you to monitor and interact with your vessel's data:
Because the device is constantly relaying information about your boat and its systems, the website gives you an up to date view of the state of your boat. Fully customizable event rules can alert you by email or sms if, for example, a battery voltage drops too low or your boat moves away from your mooring point. The onboard systems for gathering and transmitting data include:
There are two hardware versions of the FloatHub device:
- The standard WiFi model uses onboard or nearby/marina WiFi to transmit data about your vessel. This model has been in advanced field testing for several months and is ready to move to production.
- The cellular version adds GSM data capabilities to the device, enabling data transmission in areas where there is no WiFi coverage (but there is cellular coverage). This model is currently in alpha testing and is expected to be production ready in 3-4 months.
A NMEA WiFi Gateway
Your FloatHub can also transmit industry standard NMEA-0183 data over WiFi. So your phone, tablet, or laptop charting application can display realtime data about your vessel while you're onboard. If you've wired an AIS receiver to FloatHub's high speed data port, you can even see data about other vessels in the vicinity that are transmitting AIS information.
We're offering five reward levels:
- At $25, our FloatHub T-Shirt is a way to support our efforts and commemorate the campaign.
- There are 100 Early Bird FloatHub Wifi units available for $129. These will be the first batch shipped, as an extra thanks for our earliest supporters. Also included is six months of enhanced monitoring (see more of your vessel's history, be able to set more than a single alert, etc.)
- More FloatHub WiFi units are available at the regular price of $149, and these also include 6 months of enhanced monitoring.
- For those without onboard WiFi or nearby WiFi connectivity, the cellular version of FloatHub is available for $239. That version of the hardware will complete testing towards the end of 2017, with an expected ship date of February, 2018.
- If you want a truly unique FloatHub, we can have a stainless steel case fabricated that incorporates your vessel's name or small, related artwork. This $999 custom option also includes a full year of enhanced monitoring.
More details on what's included in our enhanced monitoring service is available on our plan pricing page.
Current Design/Product Status
We think it's important for our backers to understand where FloatHub is in the process of taking a product from inception to commercial roll out. Different firms turn to KickStarter campaigns at different stages in their product's development, and it is not always abundantly clear how far along a given project is (especially one that involves hardware, as FloatHub does).
On the hardware side, the FloatHub WiFi device has already been through several conceptual versions, hardware revisions, and component changes. The main remaining step is to switch from 3-D printing of the enclosure to commercial tooling for injection molding. A true finished case is also required to complete the remaining technical steps in FCC certification (FloatHub is a WiFi transmitting device). The cellular version will also require FCC certification when we fully wrap up its testing.
The software driving the FloatHub device and the FloatHub website has been under extensive development over a period of years. We are not starting with a blank whiteboard and a concept. On the contrary, our field/beta testers have been using the current solution for several months with only normal bug fixes and tweaks.
All of our beta testers in the field deserve a great deal of thanks for their very valuable feedback. We'd also like to thank Tim Marshall for his inspiring photography, especially his remarkable shots of waves. We used one of them in our banner for this campaign.
Risks and challenges
Like any project that involves hardware, software, suppliers, and so on, there are a lot of moving parts. There will always be risks associated with such an endeavor, and we break down the main ones as follows.
MANUFACTURING: Suppliers can run out of stock, manufacturers can suddenly end-of-life an important component and thus trigger a design revision. We have tried to work with our supply chain to avoid any surprises, but supply continuity is never trivial and the potential for unexpected delays is always there.
CERTIFICATION: We are already through much of the process of clearing FCC certification for the device. But the final injection molded case must be in place before we can fully complete that process, and it is conceivable (although highly unlikely) that some odd effect of the case might result in testing problems.
SOFTWARE: It is always possible that we will discover a substantial bug or defect in the code embedded in the FloatHub device or the system that runs the website. We have attempted to avoid this outcome through a fairly extensive beta testing process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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