By Adam Quandt
The world of technology moves fast. Despite playing some catch-up in some aspects of technology due to the harsh operating environment, the same sentiment rings true for technology in the marine space.
Even down to the partnerships in play in the marine technology sector, things move increasingly fast. In March of 2021, Boating Industry reported on a new alliance between Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Siren Marine.
“Our relationship with Siren Marine will help us lead the marine connected and digital technology race,” Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit president Ben Speciale said at the time of the announcement. “Siren Marine devices, software and two-way communication will link to current and future integrated control systems developed by the engineers in our U.S.-based Yamaha Boat Power System division (BPS), the team we formed in 2018 that is reimagining how boaters interact with Yamaha products.”
Fast-forward nine months to December, when Yamaha announced its intention to purchase Siren Marine, a purchase which was finalized in early January 2022.
“When we began our alliance with Siren back in March of 2021, it quickly became clear that their practical and proprietary technology was a perfect fit for Yamaha Marine’s direction with connectivity,” Speciale said during a press event. “Like Yamaha, the Siren Marine team understands the technology and how boaters need to use that technology. Siren’s approach complements Yamaha Marine’s philosophy of reliability in our drive to have real features that serious boaters and anglers will value in their products.”
Speciale noted that while they are unable to disclose the terms of the purchase agreement, “I can say Siren Marine is 100% part of the Yamaha Marine Systems Company.”
Siren will continue to support all current customers and all products will retain the Siren brand. Development teams will work out of Siren’s headquarters in Newport as well as Yamaha headquarters in Kennesaw.
The acquisition of Siren and the development of these new “connected” products falls in line with Yamaha’s CASE Strategy. CASE is an acronym for Connected, Autonomous, Shared/Service and Electrification, and describes the focus areas of deploying the technology in the effort to make boating easier. CASE is Yamaha’s directional theme for future product development and is also being integrated into current Yamaha products as the company continues to evolve.
“By joining the Yamaha team, we now have the ability and power to give customers the best Connected Boat experiences on the market,” said Siren Marine CEO Jeffrey Poole. “We look forward to our future as part of the Yamaha family. The products we develop together will deliver unmatched reliability coupled with integrated, innovative power systems propelling the marine industry into the future.”
Together, the two companies now under one, plan to develop a fully-connected vessel that has the integrated systems to work with all of Yamaha’s boatbuilder partners and dealers.
Siren developers will now work with Yamaha Marine U.S.-based engineers and Yamaha’s development teams and business planning divisions.
“We know today’s digital natives are fully accustomed to their connectivity,” Poole said. “They’re connected to their houses, they’re connected to their cars, they’re connected to their bodies and we see the connectivity to their boat as just another extension to their connected lives.”
Poole said that joining the Yamaha family will allow for faster development in critical features for all of Siren’s partners.
As they forge ahead together, Yamaha and Siren plan to introduce new, co-developed products to consumers over the next 12-24 months.
“Our vision for the future is to have all Yamaha Marine’s connected from 2.5-425hp outboards, our WaveRunners, as well as our jet boats,” Speciale said. “As we work together to develop these expanded connected products, we would expect to increase the value for the consumers by developing total solutions with the rest of the products that are either powered or controlled by their vessels.”
Yamaha’s overarching strategy with Siren Marine is to create a connected backbone for use in the marine space, meaning that this connected backbone will not be limited to compatibility with only Yamaha Marine products.
“We want a variety of products attached to that connected backbone, so we’re not going to exclude anything from that,” Speciale said. “Our style of business is to build a reliable system. The engine command and control is extremely important, which is one reason why we wanted Siren Marine as part of the Yamaha family, because as you tap into that information, we need to make sure it’s very secure. But as you add systems to that backbone, we would open it up for any type of systems to be added to that as we move forward in time.”
Poole went on to explain that Siren will look at all stakeholders in the boat when looking at what systems will be able to tap into this new connected back bone. From boat builders looking at data on how the boat is being used, to Yamaha looking at propulsion data, all the way down
to gyro stabilization and multi-function displays, the connected backbone can tie in all of these various components.
Across the building, selling and servicing of boats, all the way down to the users of the boats, all those involved with boating are set to benefit from the speed of technological growth in the marine sector and new alliances between companies like Yamaha and Siren Marine.
“That’s the bigger part of connectivity as we go forward in time,” Speciale said. “How do we make all of these links to the different parts [builders, dealers, etc.] connect to the consumer?”
“When all is said and done, the winners of everybody in this is going to be the boaters,” Poole concluded. “Siren Marine has always been by boaters for boaters and we’ll continue to have that philosophy. We’re thrilled to be part of the Yamaha family now and very excited for the next chapter ahead, together.”