“MFDs are getting more development than anything else,” says McGowan. “They are the key focal point for navigation — and sometimes entertainment — so we want to make a user’s experience as simple as possible.”
Other experts agree. “Everything connects back to the MFD,” says Marc Jourlait, deputy CEO at Navico, which is the parent company of B&G, Go Free, Lowrance and Simrad. He believes today’s marine electronics have to be easy to use, and pushing information to the cloud has to be a simple task. “There are so many opportunities to make [electronics] better and more seamless,” he says, describing the challenges manufacturers are tackling.
While pushing data to the cloud depends on Internet connectivity (more on this in a minute), one way contemporary MFDs simplify the user experience is through customizable screen views. Depending on the display, these views can often be created by dragging and dropping app icons onto one of several screen-layout templates. With a swipe of a finger, a user has the ability to control and monitor networked fixed and handheld cameras, determine the content viewed in split screens, display television and video imagery, and even control the stereo.