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AnchorBuddy™ is an intelligent and reliable anchor monitoring safety device that gives you a peace of mind while anchoring. It is a plug and play solution mounted directly on the anchor itself.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AnchorBuddy (AnchorBuddy™ is an intelligent and reliable anchor monitoring safety device that gives you a peace of mind while anchoring. It is a plug and play solution mounted directly on the anchor itself.)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

AnchorBuddy addresses the crucial need of sailors of all backgrounds (the potential users) to improve the reliability and general experience of anchoring. Anchoring is a very much-controlled process and any person gaining command over a vessel should have sufficient knowledge and experience to carry out the procedure safely. Nonetheless, every year, there are numerous reports related to anchoring incidents. There have been a number of groundings, collisions and near miss incidents caused as a result of manoeuvring in an anchorage, dragging anchor, or leaving it too late before heaving up an anchor in poor weather. These incidents have resulted in loss of lives, pollution and costs running into tens of millions of euros.

Our anchoring assistance system allows also for maritime environment monitoring, reporting sea pollution and collecting water quality data. The conducted interviews have revealed that this data is of special interest to environmental as well as tourist agencies. These will be included in further development process in SME Phase 2.

The overall objectives of the feasibility study where market viability, technological viability, business model viability, economic and organizational viability. These objectives where further addressed with tasks as described in the technical report of the feasibility study. The work package was divided in 9 subtasks.
Task 1.1: Market analysis: in-depth desktop research, interviews with target groups to gather information on users and benefits we can offer, freedom to operate, competitor analysis
Task 1.2: Cooperation analysis and meetings with suppliers, manufacturing and distribution partners, terms and conditions of cooperation.
Task 2.1: Prototype production test with SailNomad to demonstrate technology viability.
Task 2.2: Innovation activities to scale-up and automation of production line, establishing most suitable manufacturing, sourcing and technology approach.
Task 2.3: Risk assessment regarding up-scale, use, regulatory demands, initial commercialization, team
Task 3.1: Meetings and interviews with potential users and customers to identify key benefits, communication approach and sales model. Intelligence needed for expansion of business operations.
Task 4.1: Financial strategy analysis and activities to secure financing for further development, involving meetings with potential investors.
Task 5.1: Defining company structure.
Task 5.2: IP management & strategy in order to apply for patents and research on legal terms of using our technology.

The conducted feasibility study has shown that the current lack of anchor safety systems presents an immense business opportunity. Through SME Phase 1 we have identified specific customer groups that present our early-adopter target population and we will develop further business models to specifically target these groups in SME Phase 2.
In the frame of the feasibility study with business plan we analysed series of areas critical for success of the action. The results of technological feasibility have emerged to be even more lucrative than we estimated before. We developed a new prototype and pivoted to a more simple, acceptable and reliable solution. Therefore, from technological point of view, we do not see any serious obstacles for market success of the project and we have to realize the production plan as specified above in the attached document.

From the business side of view we identified new opportunities such as deliver the buoy as a pure monitoring buoy that would be used for remote monitoring of sea water parameters. Measured parameters would be crowdsourced and anonymized so only location relevant monitoring data could be collected. Furthermore gathered data will be further used by local agencies, ocean monitoring and fisch associations - all in a good will to preserve the sea by learning more about it.

Through the SME Phase 1 feasibility study we have improved the concept of AnchorBuddy system with further technical adjustments. Most importantly, we have decided to replace the wireless communication system between AnchorShell and AnchorBuoy with cable connection. This decision was made after careful consideration of customer needs for a reliable and simple solution that has low risk of failing. Since anchor buoys need to be physically connected with the anchor, we have developed a solution incorporating specially designed cable. This yields a reliable solution and reduces the production costs.

Based on the conducted analysis we conclude that the market is viable and ready to accept our new technological innovation. In the scope of research we identified new stakeholders and further expanded our business model.

Technological viability findings are positive and have met our previous expectations in most areas, although changes were required from our original plans specified in the SME 1 application. All used technology components are already at TRL level 6, so further steps are planned for SME Phase 2 in terms of production miniaturization and moving from product design to product manufacturing process.

In the scope of feasibility study, risks were identified through different task completion processes. Risks were evaluated and basic mitigation strategies are outlined in the detailed report document.

Based on the results of meetings and interviews, we have further expanded our business models and segmented the target customer segments. We have identified the group of early-adopters (private boat owners) looking to spend more time at sea in a safer manner, while enjoying the true untapped nature of anchorages. These end-users will be reached through various channels, including insurance providers.

We also identified new features for our product, which correlate with our service model portfolio in terms of ecological impact and sea preservation. Ocean associations and agencies are very interested in acquiring more efficient and detailed water and environment data - AnchorBuoy can collect these data and deliver them to research and tourism associations. These aspects will be further developed in the upcoming SME Phase 2 - CrowdSourcing of ocean water parameters.
We have studied further possibilities to develop our IP management strategies. We have applied for patent at Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in February 2018. Our invention is patent pending in this region which provides us with ample opportunity to continue developing our market strategies and contracting partners for further production plans. Patenting product in this manner enables us suitable protection of our IP from possible copying. Our solution is currently patent pending at SIPO under number P-201800037.

There is a clear shortage of products specifically aimed to improve anchoring. We were not able to identify similar competitive products. The only solution that is similar to our product in most characteristics identified so far, AnchorTag, is still not available for purchase and release to the market is still pending. All the other solutions are based on GPS service and are not specifically designed to be used for anchoring. The only other available products aimed to improve the safety of anchoring and make the process more user friendly are buoys specifically designed to be used with anchors. These products are marketed by Swisstec (Anchor Buoy) and Fender Design buoy. These solve the problem of marking the location of the anchor on the sea surface.

We identified new features for our product, which correlate with our service model portfolio in terms of ecological impact and sea preservation and overall greater social impact. Ocean associations and agencies are very interested in acquiring more efficient and detailed water and environment data - AnchorBuoy can collect these data and deliver them to research and tourism associations.
Testing electronics
AnchorBuoy
AnchorShell mounted on anchor
Assembling
AnchorBuoy
Logo
Modules expplained
AnchorShell submerged module
Initial concept