September/October 2018 Marine Electronics Journal 35
online ordering will undoubtedly have an
impact on all commerce.
Eye on core competencies
Maintaining focus and training on core
competencies, as well as differentiating and
pursuing the skills necessary to change, grow
and evolve with the opportunities that new
technologies offer will be critical for future sustainable, profitable growth and ultimately
increase business value.
New products: both good and bad
I think the overall health of our industry
regarding new products with cool features
and technology advances is pointing in a
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AIS and upgrades
One good thing is that with technology—
like CHIRP sounders and HD radar—a lot of
people are upgrading. Higher end boats are
really booming—the market with bigger center consoles with triples and quads is really
hot. The higher-end boats are putting in
higher-end radios with AIS. AIS has been a
positive trend where more boats are installing
equipment that can send and receive signals.
A downside is that smaller boats are relying more on cellphones than on VHF radios.
There also continues to be confusion over
DSC/MMSI (Digital Selective Calling/Mar-itime Mobile Service Identity). We’re seeing
less than 10% of boaters hooking it up and
registering it. We’ve made it easier for them
by building GPS into the radio so you don’t
have to hook NMEA data to the GPS. It’s
helped but hasn’t solved the problem.
As for concerns, everyone has gone to
MFDs and interfacing everything. If something
goes wrong you can lose the whole system. On
the positive side, the quality of products is so
much better that people aren’t buying equipment because it’s gone bad—they’re buying
because they want new features.
National Sales Manager, ICOM
good direction. Competition among manufacturers for market share is good for all of us
dealers and the consumer. The byproduct of
this is that sometimes equipment being
released is not fully tested, thus leaving dealers to sort out issues that were not addressed
properly. This results in a lot of time spent
helping manufacturers sort it out on the fly
at our expense. The classic response is, “We
will address that in the next software
Profitability a problem
The thing that concerns me the most is
profitability. Boating in general is getting
more expensive across the board. Boats cost
more, engines cost more, props, etc. The only
thing getting cheaper for the most part is electronics. To add insult to injury manufacturers
are now going to MRP, which is good but also
reduces the discount a dealer gets—thus
telling us what we can make.
Also, some manufacturers are now selling
on the Internet factory direct to the consumer
and offering a longer warranty. The mid-sized
boating market for electronics is changing
and we will have to adapt and find other ways
to make money. The positive thing is on the
yachting side—sales and refits have been
good and the future is bright. If you are a
company that specializes in that things
should be good.
More fun, less pain
We as an industry need to do a good job
with the boating public in order for them to
stay in boating. This includes anyone in the
marine industry, not just marine electronics.
Boating needs to be fun and not painful. Also,
we need to make sure to get the younger generation on the water to grow the market.
CEO, Electronics Unlimited
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Integration can cut both ways
The tight integration of boat systems
seems like a great trend that could also turn
out badly. Integrating marine electronics with
the monitoring and/or control of engines,
power components, entertainment, communications and much more can make a boat
safer, easier, and more fun to operate. Integration can also streamline systems servicing,
off-boat monitoring, and the record keeping
that can help a boat retain value.