Auckland, New Zealand Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine safety products, announced today an Android version of its popular WatchMate app. Available as a free download from GooglePlay, the new app is designed to control Vesper’s award-winning WatchMate Vision and XB-8000 products. Offering all of the same functionality as the company’s iOS app as well as additional capabilities, the new WatchMate app features a unique look and feel optimized for the Android platform and makes it even easier to install, configure and remotely control the powerful Vision and XB-8000 AIS transponders.
Required on many ships and most commercial vessels, Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders are becoming more and more prevalent in recreational boating. The Vesper Marine WatchMate Android app communicates directly with a vessel’s AIS transponder and displays all nearby AIS equipped boats and Aids to Navigation (AtoN) on an easy-to-understand plotting screen. This highly informative screen, which can be oriented in North-up or Heading-up, allows boaters to select a target to view additional details such as vessel identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status and other safety-related information. The free app is able to compute Closest Point of Approach (CPA) and Time to Closest Point of Approach (TCPA), and graphically displays crossing situations for enhanced situational awareness. The innovative WatchMate Android app also takes advantage of the XB-8000 and WatchMate Vision’s NMEA gateway feature allowing it to display heading, depth and wind information provided by onboard NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 sensors.
The new app, like the iOS version, includes Vesper Marine’s innovative Instant Target Acquisition feature. Taking advantage of unique capabilities that are only available with XB-8000 and WatchMate Vision AIS transponders, upon startup the app is able to immediately display up-to-date information on all AIS-equipped vessels in the vicinity including their name and other identifying information. Other apps, software, MFDs and displays must wait for AIS data to be received; and some information, such as vessel names, can take several minutes.
“Our new free app brings Instant Target Acquisition and advanced remote control and configuration of our WiFi AIS transponders to Android users,” said Jeff Robbins, CEO, Vesper Marine. “Leveraging the unparalleled features of our industry-leading XB-8000 and WatchMate Vision the app makes it even easier to access the GPS, AIS and navigation data we make available over WiFi, while delivering an innovative graphical display of crossing situations that further enhances safety at sea.”
When combined with a WatchMate Vision AIS transponder, users are able to employ filters to reduce clutter on the screen to focus on the most important targets. Once filters have been set based on how close a target will come or other criteria, contacts that pose no threat will "disappear", though the transponder will continue to monitor it. If the vessel changes course it will immediately reappear. Additionally, with WatchMate Vision transponders, users are able to receive, silence and control warnings and alarms from within the app. Warnings advise boaters that action is required to avoid an alarm situation; alarms require action in order to silence them. Alarms will notify users even if the Android app is running in the background using an indicator in the notification bar at the top of the screen. Boaters have the option to dismiss an alarm immediately or jump to the WatchMate app screen to view the target vessel and details such as TCPA and CPA required for safe crossing.
The WatchMate app for Android devices is available as a free download from GooglePlay. For more information on Vesper Marine, XB-8000, WatchMate Vision or its entire product line, please visit www.vespermarine.com.