Manufacturers scored big at the 2019 NMEA/RTCM Marine Electronics Conference & Expo, held last week at the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth, Virginia. A total of 18 products received top-dog honors in three separate award competitions-NMEA Product of Excellence Awards and Manufacturer of the Year (voted on by the NMEA membership), the NMEA Technology Award, and new this year-the Best New Product Award for manufacturers who introduced new products for the first time at the NMEA/RTCM Conference.
"On behalf of the NMEA Board of Directors, staff, and membership body, we congratulate all 2019 award winners," said Mark Reedenauer, NMEA President & Executive Director. "The entrant count for the Best New Product Award exceeded our expectations, which sends the message that there is extreme value for manufacturers to introduce new products at the NMEA Conference, where only the trade can view these new innovations. We will continue to improve the awards for 2020 by adding categories as the industry evolves and we get feedback from the membership."
2019 Product of Excellence Awards
NMEA members selected the winners of the annual Product of Excellence Awards through an online voting process. Awards were given in 16 categories. Here are the 2019 recipients:
- Marine VHF-ICOM M605
- Satellite TV Antenna-KVH TracVision TV3
- Radar-Furuno DRS4DNXT
- Fishfinder-Furuno DFF3D Multi-Beam 3D
- Satellite Comm. Antenna-KVH TracPhone V3HTS
- Marine Camera-FLIR M400XR
- Multi-Function Display-Garmin GPSMAP 8616xsv
- AIS-Furuno FA170 Class A
- Multimedia Entertainment-Fusion Apollo RA770
- Autopilot-Garmin Reactor 40 with SmartPump v2
- NMEA 2000 Sensor-Furuno SC33 Satellite Compass
- Remote Monitoring-GOST Apparition SM GPS XVR
- Marine PC Software-Nobeltec TZ Professional
- WiFi/Cellular Device-KVH TracPhone LTE-1
- Marine Apps-Utility-Garmin ActiveCaptain
- Commercial-Furuno FAR2228BB IMO Radar
Manufacturer of the Year Award
NMEA members also voted on a particular manufacturer who had demonstrated superior support of their products to all who install and service them in the field. NMEA and the membership congratulate Garmin on winning this award.
Best New Product Award
NMEA created the Best New Product Award to celebrate one product that was introduced to the market at the combined NMEA/RTCM event which a panel of five judges deemed best in the areas of innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality and value. Twelve new products were entered in the competition.
Taking top honors was Vesper Marine's Cortex, the world's first marine VHF with wireless touchscreen handsets, built-in Class B smart AIS transponder and remote vessel monitoring. Pressing the man overboard button (MOB) activates a track-back mode and marks the MOB location on the multi-function display. Cortex sports a host of other functions as well, including anchor dragging alert and collision alarm.
NMEA Technology Award
The NMEA Technology Award names a single marine electronics product that scores highest in the same four criteria categories that were used for the Best New Product Award. The judges chose Raymarine/FLIR's ClearCruise AR as the winner from among 11 entries.
"ClearCruise AR is an industry-first technology that combines augmented reality and advanced image stabilization to help boaters make smarter and faster navigation decisions by placing visual overlays of nav aids, AIS traffic and destination waypoints on Raymarine Axiom multi-function displays," the judges said. "The overlays identify nearby AIS-equipped vessels with color-coding to warn of traffic that could pose threats. At the heart of the system is a blending of high-definition digital or thermal video from networked Raymarine or FLIR marine cameras and dynamic graphics."
Judges this year for both the Technology and New Product Awards included marine electronics specialists Kevin Boughton of Mid-Coast Marine Electronics, Aaron Held of Octopus Yachts and Mark Roche of QCS Marine Electronics, along with veteran marine writer/editor Lenny Rudow and Marine Electronics Journal editor Jim Fullilove.