The Internet of Things (IoT) goes to sea.
It wasn’t that long ago when IoT bordered on science fiction, prognosticators telling us that this interconnectivity between machines would provide all kinds of solutions dubiously looking for a problem—like trackers that tell us the toilet paper dispenser is empty or our fridge is out of eggs.
Yet, like solar power, wristwatch communicators and apps that track our physical fitness, it turns out IoT can prove valuable on boats when used in the correct application. And the ZF Marine connected experience through Siren Marine is a great application.
At its most basic, the ZF connected experience allows boat owners to confidently monitor the status of their marine transmission. Siren Marine’s cloud-based Connected Boat platform connects boaters with their ZF transmissions 24/7, keeping them informed about their transmission’s status. A Mag Bay 42 equipped with twin ZF 400 series transmissions and the Siren Marine system was on display at the 2020 Miami International Boat Show.
Just what can you monitor? You can track hours of use and will receive alerts about scheduled maintenance, which helps ensure reliability. Additionally, through specially created tiles on the Siren Marine app, boaters can connect with the ZF Marine support team directly via phone or in-app email to ask questions about its propulsion system and receive help from in-house factory experts. This exclusive functionality puts vital performance and diagnostic information at the fingertips of boaters and helps customers connect with ZF-authorized service providers.
Let’s say you get an alert about a filter and fluid change. The part numbers, quantities and other pertinent info related to the service are accessible via links to that info on the ZF Marine website. You also have the optional choice of sharing information about how you use your boat to help ZF “better understand how, when and where customers use their products so ZF can continue to provide them with components that provide the best boating experience.” ZF also believes these functions just scratch the surface. For example, it is evaluating operating hour-based extended-warranty options that could be purchased through the ZF tile.
Both Siren and ZF assert that these capabilities are available to existing ZF customers by adding the Siren MTC to their boats and downloading the free Siren Marine app for iOS and Android devices. For existing users of the Siren MTC, this integration with ZF is backward-compatible.
With the ZF connected experience, boat owners can also benefit from Siren Marine’s Connected Boat. This monitors battery voltage, bilge water level, bilge high-water alarm, temperature and more. It allows you to track the boat’s GPS position and set geofences to locate it, and you can connect to entry alarms and motion sensors. If you have digital switching, with the addition of a separate Actisense module, you can also control lights, the air conditioner and countless other systems from anywhere.
So, with the ZF connected experience, you can monitor your marine transmission and other systems to better adhere to maintenance schedules and address problems, even if you are not present on the boat. Availing oneself of such data is a good way to enhance the reliability and longevity of your boat and its systems. That it can be done from afar and with factory expertise is like having an experienced buddy helping you maintain your boat.