The big change that’s come in the last year or so, Calissendorff explains, is the move into commercial IT infrastructure as the backbone of onboard AV/IT systems. “We had a request to integrate 4K TV on a very large yacht. where the wire routeing meant some display screens were well over 100 metres from the source. So we looked into how best to send 4K 60hz signals that distance (HDMI cables only work over short distances), and the answer was to build a high-spec independent IT network for the yacht’s audio-visual system. We’re talking about 100gigabit network—that’s the same specification that Netflix uses in their data centres.”
Calissendorff says he’s seen two reasons why superyacht clients have been let down by their AV/IT systems: Either the system was promised to deliver a solution before the technology was really there, or it was designed for the wrong reason: cutting costs. “If you’re specifying a system just to cut costs, then you’re probably going to be cutting corners and will run into problems. But if you specify for quality, which is what you can do today, you can get fantastic quality for a wide range of price points. Will, in particular, has been really good at achieving the balance between performance and price for owners. As he always says, ‘just because clients have the money doesn’t mean they should spend it.’
Today, along with continuing to consult on superyacht AV/IT projects, Calissendorff is building his company, Plejd, into what might be called the IKEA of home automation. But the company started as an innovative engineering solution for ETOs configuring AV/IT systems on superyachts.
“Some people think of the yachting life as an escape from the modern world, but it’s really the opposite: my clients want all the comforts and delights of home and resort on board. It’s not about having some kind of austere experience, it’s about having everything they already enjoy, but just more of it, with total freedom and privacy.”