Written by Francesca Webster
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SMART Technology Advisers embraces innovation; whether it's as a result of their own ideas, creating concepts at the behest of their clients, or from many of the world’s leading superyacht designers. With a keen eye for detail, an impartial perspective, a trusted roster of clients, and over a decade of experience, the SMART team can take concepts and craft them into reality. From LED walls to a one-of-a-kind IMAX theatre, discover the niche and uniquely specialised technologies designed by SMART upon a number of the world's leading superyachts. Superyacht Times met up with SMART founders Ian Dixon and Steve Puckering and their technology team to find out more.
In response to a discerning client's desires for the ultimate onboard film indulgence, the SMART team created an extraordinary internal and external movie escapade onboard the 93-metre Feadship, Lady S.
Tom Richardson (Senior Technology Consultant and project lead): “The dual IMAX and Dolby Atmos certified theatre experience had never been seen before on land or at sea. The IMAX theatre meant that guests onboard could experience exclusive access to movies that were not yet available to the public. The brief was to make it the most luxurious and best technically designed private theatre possible. The background noise levels within the theatre are far lower than even the most luxurious area on any yacht to date. A feat of engineering that could only be achieved with complex acoustic modelling and application.”
Steve: “The second groundbreaking innovation onboard Lady S, was a retractable exterior LED display measuring an astounding 201 inches, boasting the finest pixel pitch available at the time of delivery. SMART, together with Burgess and Feadship were instrumental in bringing this concept into realisation. Being the first installation on a superyacht is always a challenge but one we relish. This cutting-edge feature revolutionised how movies would now be enjoyed onboard the world’s finest superyachts.”
The SMART team also designed and created the yacht’s very own ‘guest information panels’ - which are unique and fully customisable for individual guests. The benefits of this technological feature are privacy and exclusivity. Each guest cabin onboard Lady S features an information panel on the outside of the door which features an array of information ranging from requests for the crew to clean their cabin to personalised messaging, and reminders. Each interactive panel was designed bespoke to precisely fit the wall of the yacht, having been requested post-build representing the intricate and meticulous details to which SMART strives and executes their projects.
First impression wow factor onboard 105m superyacht H3
The rebuild of the 105-metre Oceano, H3 posed a number of challenges from a technological perspective and the client had big ambitions when it came to the guest experience. Limited by repositioning of the tenders, the welcome lounge through to the main saloon was destined to be both windowless and narrower than expected. However, the client wanted their guests to experience immersive luxury as soon as they entered the yacht.
Tom: “Alongside the shipyard we co-created two solutions for the main deck. We wanted to create a live video wall to the starboard side that would show the outside world in real-time, essentially acting as a virtual window when you step inside. Something similar has been done for the mass retail market, as seen in some shopping centres and outside advertisements, but not to this quality and definition. The solution created was not only well within the budget we had been set, but ticks all of the boxes; which is to create the illusion of a window, open the space up and create the sense of connection with the environment that the client was looking for.”
Ian: “The second innovation for that project is the LED corridor. Over 10-metres in length, the video corridor is unlike anything that's ever been seen before onboard a yacht, curving around the corners and welcoming the guests onto the boat in spectacular fashion. There were plenty of technical hurdles to overcome with the Oceanco and the build team, but the result has been quite spectacular, a standout feature worthy of the project.
Shane Owst (Senior Technology Consultant): “Another notable highlight on H3 is the karaoke system. The innovative feature of this system is that the wireless microphones work anywhere on the yacht - equipment doesn't have to be moved from room to room as would be the case with a traditional solution. No matter where you are, you can enjoy karaoke - even in the Galley if it takes your fancy!”
Guest tracking system onboard Project Walton
Ian: “The yacht’s owner is a very experienced charterer but always found it difficult to find a member of the service team when he and his family moved around a yacht, especially when they first came back onboard and wanted a drink or fresh towels, for example. Another area where guests experienced difficulty was when requesting service whilst using the swimming pool. The client wanted both of these problems removed from his own yacht, and for his onboard team to provide the best possible service to his family and their guests.”
Gurmeet Singh (Technology Consultant and project lead): “Having discussed this problem personally with the client; the SMART team, in partnership with the yacht’s AVIT integrators, designed a waterproof and sun-resistant wearable tracking device. The solution incorporates technology to allow the wearer of a wristband to request attendance from a member of the yacht’s service team wherever they are onboard, with just the simple press of a button. This innovation allows additional levels of privacy, as the crew do not always need to be in close proximity to receive service requests. The crew can instead respond immediately to requests from the wristband as and when needed.
“Regardless of the wristband wearer’s location, the service team will be able to find them using an extensive location tracking infrastructure that has been built into the yacht by design. As the concept was being developed, it soon became clear we could deliver even more benefits from using this technology. One such example is we can assign wristbands to children and allow their location to be monitored from their parents’ guest iPad. The wristband can also be used by guests to unlock doors to their cabin without carrying additional fobs or cards.”
Shane: “Smart tracking of people or objects is something we’ve been researching and working on for several years. The technology has now matured and is at a point where we expect most of our future projects to incorporate an element of smart ‘tracking’ via onboard sensors for an array of possible functionality options.”
The original owner of the Feadship superyacht, Hasna, posed some unique challenges for the team. As an experienced yacht charterer and with a passion for technology, he knew what he didn’t like and set down a clear challenge.
Steve: “When we sat down with the owner, he knew that he wanted a loud, clear and consistent audio experience as he walked through and around the yacht, up or down decks. He also emphasised the importance of undetectable electrical noise (consistent buzzing) when the music was turned down to zero, and if there was a ‘buzz’, we weren’t going to get paid! We focussed heavily on this in the creation of the technology design and specification. To ensure results, and specification compliance, we spend a lot of time testing solutions in collaboration with the shipyard and integrators – persistently reinforcing the importance of the end result to the client – a month after we delivered the project, we got a call from the owner telling us he had an issue with the audio – it was too good and too loud!”
Ian: “That project was the perfect example of us specifying the project to the finest detail, working in tandem with the yard to deliver the specification and implementing it exactly as planned. The result of which was a complete harmonisation of sound – exactly what the client had wanted.”
Hasna, now Lunasea, also features an unusual cinema room. Originally designed to be a spare guest room or transitional gym, the room was far smaller than any specialist would recommend for a cinema, posing massive challenges in terms of sound quality and reverberation.
Steve: “We tasked Tom with the transformation of this room. He sat down with the client to understand exactly what he wanted as there was no room for interpretation. He developed the space, designed and specified solution, quality of standards and protocols achieve the highest level of satisfaction for the Owner. After delivery the client called us to say it was the best cinematic experience he had ever had, far outperforming that of his own cinema at home.”
Dedicated to finding solutions to complex technological problems, the team at SMART has been involved in some of the most unusual and innovative superyacht projects of recent years. Working closely with clients to unlock and understand their exact wishes, and the reasons for them, Steve, Ian and the SMART team have an abundance of experience and an unparalleled expertise when it comes to onboard technology. To find out more, reach out to the team now.
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105m M/Y H3 welcomes guests onboard with a large virtual window, utilising an LED video wall and a hidden broadcast camera.
We created an LED video-ceiling solution to satisfy the client's love of technology, whilst complimenting the room's circular layout.