June the 13th was a remarkable date this year. It was the launch date of Buster Q, a new smart, boating device that Nextfour has developed for the past few years. The launch itself was a success, but more importantly, we believe it was the beginning of a new kind of boating.
As said, Buster Q is a completely new kind of smart device for boats. The video by our partner, the boat manufacturer Buster Boats can explain this further:
The Q device has been inspired by automotive industries and handheld smart devices that both have introduced the modern consumer to an intuitive and entertaining user experience. The world of recreational crafts has so far been left behind in this development, but our vision was to change this and update the boating experience to the modern day.
Now for the first time it is possible to get a complete navigation and entertainment system directly installed to your boat. Q is the only system on the market that integrates all of the boat’s functions from the dashboard to the heater into one crisp, touch screen interface. All applications and peripherals are found under one clear menu. The structure of the interface has been designed so that all of the important functions are only two taps away.
Further improvement to the traditional systems is that Q supports map updates over air, i.e. you will get your maps updated quickly and effortlessly using the device’s own Internet connection. Q’s own software updates will be done over air as a background process that will not affect the device’s normal use.
Q’s NMEA2000 compatible system collects information from the boat’s motor and peripherals to display it on a bright high resolution screen in the user’s own language. Furthermore, on the big screen there is a lot of room to display warnings, instructions and general information about the boat’s functions. This will help the user choose the correct form of operation if a problem occurs thus preventing hazardous situations.
A project with boat heater manufacturer Wallas Marine has already brought boat heaters into the system. If your boat has a heater installed, it will have its own application on Q’s main menu. The heater can be controlled through the application in the comfort and space of the driver’s seat. Bringing the control of peripherals into one, clear interface will make managing the boat’s functions much easier than before. It will also improve the usability of the peripherals themselves. In mass produced boats there is often a lack of space which will limit the size as well as the accessibility of peripherals’ control panels. Q on the other hand has either 10’’ or 16’’ of bright screen space that opens up endless possibilities for integrated devices. And the development work for further integrations continues.
Q can also provide new boat owners with helpful video tutorials. In Buster Q they cover topics from boathandling to mariners’ knots and from performance improvements to basic safety procedures. With clear and easy-to-follow videos we can promote good boating practices and safety at seas, and truly make boating accessible for everyone.
Making the boating experience smoother and more accessible was the general rule in developing the device. However, we also wanted to give the user a better level of entertainment features and technology. For example, it is now possible to share your favorite music with friends and family using Q’s advanced wireless features. And in case you feel like trying out something new, you will always have easy access to both FM and DAB radio through Q’s radio application.
Q has a powerful 3.5G connection that can be shared over its built-in hotspot, and it can be paired with any Bluetooth device. Q also has a weather service and it can receive AIS messages from commercial crafts.
Product development, of course, is far from finished. We are working hard to release a lot of cool, new features in the near future. If You have any good ideas or want to hear more about the concept, don’t hesitate to contact us via our site. We can customize Q for new boat manufacturers too and help them respond to the demand for smarter boating solutions.