One of the most popular onboard conveniences is a single handheld and/or touch-screen controller managing lighting, air conditioning, and entertainment options. The ever-present Crestron units come to mind, but no matter the manufacturer, they’re indispensable.
With owners and guests increasingly take iPods along, naturally gear and electronics companies are supplying yachts with docking stations. Unfortunately, not all of the docking stations that I’ve seen are integrated with the Crestron controllers, or even the general A/V system. So, while users can sometimes stream songs through speakers in their stateroom, they can’t access their music library elsewhere onboard. And they can’t call up a video on anything other than the iPod screen.
Advanced New Technologies (ANT) is changing that. It specializes in the design, manufacture, and installation of systems for entertainment, security, communication, and more, particularly on superyachts. ANT has a new integration solution that brings on-land applications onto the water.
First, ANT can acquire and install iPod- and iPhone-specific docking stations like the Sonance IW-5 or Crestron CEN-IDOC, the latter pictured here. Both already allow for two-way control, meaning you can use either the iPod’s touch wheel or the Sonance or Crestron device to access music and other media. (If you’re not familiar with Sonance, it claims the IW-5 is the first in-wall system created for the iPod. The full product name even plays on that: iPort IW-5. I’ve seen it used on Lazzara Yachts, among others.) ANT will determine which devices best serve your needs and how many “entertainment zones” need to be set up on your yacht, which in turn dictates the number of controllers. The company will then make sure the iPod or iPhone can receive information from the master control center, as well as send information, when everything is installed.
Now, that’s a pretty straightforward setup from a user’s standpoint. What if you want something more? Say a family member has every U2 song ever recorded on his iPod, and you both want it available for call up anywhere onboard. ANT says it can create special channels based on just one iPod’s or iPhone’s library, designated as “Follow Me” and “Party Audio” channels in the yacht’s system. This way, you or anyone else using a Crestron or Sonance controller, or a synched iPod or iPhone, can tap the channel and check out the offerings.
Another cool feature: The iPod or iPhone can be used as an extra or alternative controller for lighting and other yacht-specific options. ANT would need access to specific iPods and iPhones to program them, but it says the process is also possibly by using an interface, like Command Fusion’s iViewer. The iViewer is already in use in many homes, allowing for residents to dim lights, roll down blinds, call up entertainment offerings, and even check security cameras when the doorbell rings. The possibilities on a yacht are equally as good. For example, yacht-position data normally streamed to the TVs can also be accessed on an iPhone. As the screenshot at left indicates, guests can turn up the A/C with one finger swipe and turn on the TV in the next motion. ANT can even set up the system so that you have the equivalent of room service onboard: contacting the stews to bring out another round of drinks to the aft deck, or a forgotten bottle of sunscreen to the sundeck.
In the near future, ANT anticipates having an even simpler iPod and iPhone control system. Owners and guests will only need to download an app that will synch with the onboard system. There will be no need for docking stations or independent controllers. The iPod and iPhone can then serve as the controller for lighting, air, and the like.