Ask the
Expert: AV/IT.

As technology has developed and the focus of owners has shifted, AV/IT has been gaining in importance resulting in bespoke, multi-million euro contracts. Today, the AV/IT sector is streamlining its approach to simplify some of the complexities of onboard technology. To tell us more about the latest developments we sat down with Arjan Kleinveld, managing partner of ONE XP; Diego Tavaroli, yachting systems engineer at Videoworks; Jeroen van den Hurk, CEO at Van Berge Henegouwen (VBH); Zeb Robin, technical director at Bond Technology Management; and Tom Richardson, chief technology officer, Smart Technology Advisers.

The dynamic profile of the GT45 makes the yacht look to be in motion even at the dock. This is thanks to the “sleek arch and fin-shaped hardtop” says the designer, Enrico Gobbi

Technology is developing all the time. How do you future-proof an AV/IT system?

Jeroen van den Hurk: Future-proofing an AV/IT system in the rapidly evolving technology landscape requires a multifaceted approach. You should prioritise a smart system architecture that leverages a robust, tested, and certified cabling infrastructure and IT backbone. Ensuring the yacht has the right type and sufficient amount of cabling is crucial for seamless upgrades and accommodating new technologies without extensive overhauls. While this foundation is essential, it requires some regular upgrades to allow our clients to continuously benefit from the latest innovations.

Zeb Robin: Bond TM has a fundamentally different perspective than an integrator, as our position working directly for yacht owners means we can drive the specification to ensure systems are future proofed. Integrators must bid on specifications, we write them. On a more specific level, we’re always looking 10-15 years ahead to make sure the systems we design are future proof. Additionally, we are encouraging yacht owners to simplify and streamline their systems so that long-term maintenance and operational costs are reduced. Starlink was the lynchpin we were waiting forto fundamentally re-invent the onboard AV/IT systems we tailor to owners’ needs.

Tom Richardson: The “art” of future proofing a system on any marine vessel is not having to loop back and modify the core infrastructure. End user items and
visible items such as displays are very simple, latestage upgrades. We take a holistic view on this; the builder has a contractual obligation to build a luxury assetand the earlier the builder can gather information on infrastructure the better it is for all parties. While developing the GA with the designers, engineers,
architects, and builders, we are allowing for space, cooling, routing, electrical loads and positioning of major items. We always allow for “headroom” in any
system. The simple answer is to be deliberate in your goal, design the system with overcapacity in the most cost-effective and least disruptive way possible; that way you get little resistance from any party.

Arjan Kleinveld: The most important thing is to ensure that the infrastructure and build process allows for changes that don’t affect the physical integration too much. Changes that demand new cabling, for example, will cause more work, so working with an experienced advisor who have the experience to recognise the trends and to manage expectations is vital. If a clear decision timeline is explained and shared with all relevant parties, we don’t see hurdles, while the client
understands he has the latest and greatest. Again, this should still allow for changes and added functionality without affecting the physical side of the installation.

What is your advice for project managers or owners’ reps tasked with choosing an integrator and speccing a system?

Tom Richardson: Any owner will have key likes and dislikes; always focus onthe dislikes first as those are the experiences we need to never repeat. Next stage is the key “must haves”, the complexity and size of the system, the capability of the builder and, of course, budget. Depending on time available and the stage you are at in the build, the more detailed the specification is, and the more things that can be defined at an early stage, then the more secure the budget, as the
integrator will not be adding contingency costs for unknowns. Multi-million-dollar systems are not uncommon so a contingency of only 5 per cent is a substantial sum. Once you know the budget and the complexity then you will, by default, be left with a shortlist of experienced, well-funded and known
integrators. Remember: it’s people that build yachts. You canget what you think is the right supplier but may get their “B” team, so make sure they have the resources available to do your build.

Jeroen van den Hurk: The complexity and cost of AV/IT systems are often driven by the high expectations and specific requirements of the client. The paradox here is that clients typically desire the latest and greatest technologies, but not a “me too” system. Therefore, speccing a system to the smallest detail and benchmarkin