C_wiz: for total recall

Low cost, high performance vessel monitoring for Microsoft Windows

"Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas."

- Admiral Hyman Rickover

Some current users (click to expand)

C_wiz - its value to you

What is it

C_wiz is a PC based software product that allows you to gather, log and transfer data emanating from data devices such as GPS units, intelligent engine gauges, embedded engine data control units, depth sounders, "on /off" devices, analog sensors via A/D modules etc.

The data can then be analyzed by playing, plotting, mapping voyage tracks and reviewing event occurrences - thus allowing a comprehensive history of a vessel's usage to be maintained and monitored.

The claim to low cost is based on the fact that no specialized or proprietary equipment is necessary - everything is "off the shelf" and the choice re issues such as robustness vs cost is yours.

By "high performance" we mean "comprehensive, full function, flexible, device independent, low resource consumption..." but this wouldn't fit on one line and was not very punchy. 

Vessel monitoring systems are not new - there have been high end systems around for a number of years that are used (and in some situations mandated) on large commercial vessels. These systems are generally inappropriate on smaller vessels for reasons such as cost, inflexibility, power consumption or just plain physical size.

Likewise PC based ("Wintel" or Windows + Intel) vessel monitoring systems are not new - since the inception of C_wiz in 1995 we have observed several attempts at such systems. Invariably (and we may be biased here) these attempts have had major failings in areas such as:

o Limited flexibility, the result of implicit or explicit assumptions re the nature and scope of the problem - you end up "bending the problem to suit the solution" rather than the other way round.

o Hardware dependence. In some cases the "vessel monitoring system" is nothing more than a glorified means of showcasing the ability of specific hardware to talk to a PC. The focus is on selling the hardware, not on providing a usable solution for the customer.

o Limited horizons. Mimicking in software what can already be done with analog hardware might facilitate the showcasing alluded to above but it hardly justifies the time and expense of installing a PC on a vessel. Some systems that claim the status of "vessel monitoring system" don't even have a play facility.

The one and only assumption made in the design of C_wiz is that every vessel is different. A fairly automatic outcome of this assumption is that everything is a variable. This explains the proliferation of internal "editors" (8 in total) that allow every significant aspect of the product to be tailored to suit the user's requirements.

If everything is a variable then it logically follows that C_wiz should be hardware independent, able to interface to different hardware on every vessel. C_wiz satisfies this requirement by using data device drivers, a very similar concept to the way printer drivers are used to interface any printer to Microsoft Windows. C_wiz data device drivers are small pieces of code written using well documented standards, ActiveX controls and templates.

Once you have data in a PC the ways that you can extract value from it are nearly boundless. The temptation is to just throw every conceivable feature into the pot and let the user pick out the bits he wants. This could end up a bit like a flea trying to have sex with an elephant. The author of this product has spent many years in the software industry including a stint in a software requirements role with a large CAD/CAM software developer. As a result, the feature requirements process for this product has been quite rigorous - nothing, absolutely nothing, has been added to C_wiz that was not a result of a real need expressed by a user of the product.

How is it unique? - read [6 key features] following...

6 key features

Flavours & costs

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