Posted by: Ger Rietman | December 12, 2018

Will NMEA 0183 be Around Forever?

The skyrocketing advancement of technology has impacted the world in a significant way. All sectors of the world economy have been impacted by technology in one way or another. Some of the most notable technological trends are in communication, production, and manufacturing industries. These improvements in technology will not stop any time soon because there is need for improved efficiency of operations. There is always room for improvement so things will still get better with time. It’s hard to imagine what the future holds.

Rarely will you hear people discuss the impacts of NMEA 0183. People only talk about things that they control or those that they get into direct contact with quite often. Although people still don’t address NMEA 0183 related issues, their lives are significantly by this technology.

Understanding NMEA 0183

Before we even go further, it is important that you gain a clear understanding of what NMEA 0183 is. Well, NMEA 0183 is a data and electrical specification used for communication between different marine electronics. NMEA 0183 allows for effective communication between marine electronics like GPS receivers, anemometer, autopilot, and echo sounders among others.

from Sailsoft simulates many NMEA 0183 devices and sensors as shown above:

The National Marine Electronics Association controls NMEA 0183. In case you don’t know, the NMEA 0183 replaced the NMEA 0182 and NMEA 0180 standards. The greatest challenge today is that the NMEA 0183 is facing competition from the NMEA 2000 standard.

The NMEA 0183 uses serial communications and ASCII protocol to define how information is transmitted from one place to another. The best thing about the technology is that one talker can have several listeners. Multiple sensors also talk to one computer port. The NMEA 0183 application layer, the content of all sentences are well defined in such a way that messages can be parsed by listeners accurately.

NMEA 0183 standard defines how electronic signals are transferred in a serial data bus. It is worth noting that bus can have several listener devices and one talker device. Some of the important types of information transmitted are frequency allocation, speed, position, and depth. Soon after the NMEA 0183 was introduced, it quickly became popular across the world as marine electronic equipment.

Differentiating between NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000

In the late 1990s, the NMEA 2000 was developed. It is currently very popular and in most incidences, it replaced the NMEA 0183 because it met needs that could not be met by earlier versions. Since 2000s, technology has been advancing at an astonishing rate. Most devices or equipment that were used decades ago became obsolete.

The marine industry was not an exception because changes also occurred. There was need for both present and past mariners to be satisfied by equipment introduced. The NMEA 2000 is significantly different from NMEA 0183 due to various factors such as reduced wiring, higher speed, improved safety, provision of real time control, and incorporating different manufacturer’s equipment among others.

Can NMEA 0183 stick around Forever?

We will look at various factors to determine whether NMEA 0183 is here to stay or not. Looking at its functionalities and the differences between it and the NMEA 2000 will help in coming up with a conclusion. Trends in current technology will also be important to consider.

Even after the NMEA 0183 was introduced more than three decades ago, it is still being used in all marine markets. NMEA 0183 has a wide range of use in the marine world. The technology is currently being embraced by both small recreational boats and huge transatlantic vessels. The fact that this technology seems to adapt with ongoing trends shows that it will be around for a long time. Most of the inventions older than three decades have been replaced by completely advanced technology. However, NMEA 0183 still remains relevant in the marine world.

The wide range of use of NMEA 0183 makes it hard to beat even with recent advancements in technology. The technology is able to serve both large scale and small scale operators equally. Applicability at different levels is highly beneficial because it helps to link between different equipment thus allowing for effective communication and improved operations.

The best thing about NMEA 0183 is that it continues to develop and evolve. Technology that does not change according to times can easily become out dated. NMEA 0183 will continue to serve for long because it adapts with changing needs of people. Its dynamic nature will make it suitable even for future needs.

Technology changes especially in response to the most significant component of an industry. In marine transport, large commercial ships have unmatched benefits over others because they play a major role in impacting the technology. NMEA 0183 continues to develop in regards to cater for the advanced needs of large commercial ships. The fact that it can adapt to such major sectors of the economy shows that it will continue serving people for a long time.

Growing Need

The need for sharing of information, integrating shipboard systems, data collection, controlling systems, and sensing technology is increasing at a high rate in on board vessels. Most of the operations currently happening in different parts of vessels from the bridge, engine room, off the ship, and the administrative personnel occur by means of satellite communication.

Technology is still needed in more water vessels to improve the efficiency of operations. Recreational boats, fishing vessels, coastal vessels, and ships still demand for applications in varying degrees. Each of these vessels requires communication of vital information with varying capabilities. NMEA 0183 finds a way of meeting the growing demand of these vessels. The technology continues growing in popularity thus inspiring more developments and growth.

NMEA 0183 is a standard of the marine industry with voluntary compliance. With time, NMEA 0183 has been accepted by almost all marine electronics manufacturers. The fact that NMEA 0183 is still being incorporated into most marine products shows that its value is still increasing with time. Its difficult for technology that keeps improving in value to become extinct. Although changes and new developments will continue to occur, NMEA 0183 will not go anywhere.

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