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Goodbye domes, hello more data

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Matt Gerken of e3 Systems said his job is to make observations about captains and crew when he visits yachts while his colleagues are analyzing technology systems onboard.

“I’m looking around at the crew, the network and what’s happening,” Gerken said during a presentation yesterday to 60 captains, crew, engineers and boat owners. e3 Systems is a communications integrator in the yacht market with a mission to connect people globally by offering bandwidth and internet management system solutions.
“We have the captain who doesn’t do everything, but is responsible for everything,” said Gerken. “The engineer has a lot of jobs. A small portion of that job ends up being the IT, the network and the engineering and, it’s typically a job they are thrown into.
“We have the crew, who unashamedly uses as much bandwidth as possible,” Gerken continued. “I’ve been on boats as different crew members are walking around streaming Pandora, talking about how they have a movie downloading so, when they are done with their shift, they can watch it later.”
What Gerken was getting at, he said, is that the demand for yachts to provide more and more amounts of continuous bandwidth to the captain, crew and the guests is on the rise, even as the yacht travels around the world.

Kymeta Corp. Vice President Hakan Olsson expects megayacht designs to feature flat-panel satellite antennas by 2017 which means antenna domes will disappear. PHOTO/SUZETTE COOK

Kymeta Corp. Vice President Hakan Olsson expects megayacht designs to feature flat-panel satellite antennas by 2017 which means antenna domes will disappear. PHOTO/SUZETTE COOK

Before Gerken presented his observations, Kymeta Corp. vice president Hakan Olsson explained his part in developing a flat-panel satellite antenna solution. The technology will be integrated into yacht design by early 2017, Olsson said. And with the backing of lead investor Bill Gates, Olsson said Kymeta Corp. is poised to “improve the appearance of yachts by getting rid of the domes,” said Olsson. The flat antenna is rounded shaped like a
“The way it works,” Olsson said,”is the surface of the flat antenna has 10’s of thousands of pixels just like a TV. We are addressing each of those pixels to open and close in a number of gray shades. Beneath that surface we are running the radio frequency signal. If the pixel is open, the energy comes through that pixel and through holographic interference on the surface it creates beams in a certain direction. By changing which pixels are opened or closed, we actually change the beam to look at a certain direction. You can do all of the steering [of the beams] with software. There are no moving parts.”
“More importantly, we are designing it for high bandwidth application. Not only for today’s iPad and phones, but also next generation navigation where you may have holographic charts.
“This is no longer a lab experiment,” he said.

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