It's been a pretty exciting couple of weeks at the LIFX office. As more and more backers start to receive their bulbs and share some (awesome) pics of how they are being used, its really heartening to hear good reviews coming back.
We have 7,000 bulbs on a plane to the US at the moment with an ETA from our logistics partner that these will leave the US distribution warehouse around the 10th of Dec. We have upgraded everything to air freight (at a painful cost increase) to get these to you as fast as possible. We have had a few questions around time frames on the logistics side so let me do my best to explain (if you get bored reading about logistics over your morning coffee feel free to skip the next paragraph).
After a bulb is manufactured it is packaged up and loaded onto a pallet to be picked up by our logistics partner. At this stage the pallet is freighted to either our US distribution facility (for orders in the Americas) or our Hong Kong distribution facility (for orders shipped to the rest of the world). Once the bulbs pass through customs these are then loaded in to the distribution facility and start shipping out to backers. Global logistics operations are something that even the big guys struggle with from time to time, luckily we have had Mike (pictured below) stationed in China for the past 6 weeks keeping everything moving. After 6 weeks of hotel food and not being able to sleep in his own bed, trust me when I say he is doing everything possible to speed up shipping.
The current estimate (and I say "estimate" as we are relying on quite a few 3rd party companies, customs, postal services, etc) is that 90-95% of kickstarter bulbs will be shipped out prior to Christmas. On the up side, China doesn't really break for Christmas so if you are one of the unlucky few that do not get yours in time, it won't be far away.
Version 1 of the Android app went live on the Google Play store this week. In an ideal world we would have liked this this to go out with a few more features but hopefully this will tide Android users over till we can roll out the next app update. We are aware of some bugs in the current release and these are being worked on as I speak.
Regarding programmatic access, some of you have rightly estimated that we use a (custom) binary protocol on the LAN (in the interest of speed and reducing fragmentation). We're working towards releasing a Ruby and C implementation as a reference to this, and to initially make things easier for our developer friends. Cloud is to follow, which will feature an authenticated REST interface to what is essentially an open TCP connection to the nominated gateway bulb.
GU10 is progressing well and at this stage we are still on track to deliver these in Q1 of next year. For those of you who are waiting on GU10's we appreciate your patience but think you'll be satisfied with the end result.
Also, here is a little video of 50 bulbs we setup in the office for testing. As you can see, it's quite feasible to run a whole house on LIFX- a milestone we've worked towards from the start.
Production is progressing well and although the line capacity isn't optimised at the 1500 unit per day target, we're now well underway with a new batch of 3,500 units leaving today with the remaining 14,000+ units over the next two week period as capacity doubles. Below is a quick snapshot of the ex-factory schedule.
Here's a quick shot of the 3,500 units that left today bound for regions all across the world, in no priority order after our UK and Sweden stock. Speaking of, if you're within these two regions, you'll all have tracking numbers by Friday if you haven't already received.
In the meantime, you might have noticed we soft launched the iOS app and sent the Virtual Bulb live. We hope they're fun to play with and give you a sense of how LIFX works. The Android app also goes live Thursday. There are limited features in both versions of the app, but a steady stream of things coming in the next few weeks as we roll in the big features - and integrations. Here's a quick demo for the virtual bulb if you'd like to have a play!
In the meantime we're also shooting a new video with Sandwich video to show the bulb in action. Keep an eye out for that on our website in the next few weeks.
Just a quick update on shipping progress. The initial batch of E27 Whites are ex-factory and being picked and packed in our Hong Kong fulfilment centre ready for Airmail deliveries over the next few days. These first units are Europe bound with UK and Sweden being tested first, so if you're in either of those two markets keep your eyes peeled for your tracking number! These two countries represented about 16% of our total units, so we feel they're a good starting point to test bulk shipment but not our largest markets e.g. US (43%). Our iOS app has also been approved and we'll send this live on Monday with the Android app getting a few more tweaks weekend. We'll let you know once each one hits the respective stores! There'll be more news on additional countries, shipping news and progress as it comes to hand next week. Mike and David working around the clock supporting the factory team; co-ordinating packaging; pick and pack; getting stuff out the door, booking the flights for air mail delivery and sending us photo's like below. In the meantime I'm off home, and pretty happy to be spending some time with the family for a few days!
As you'd know manufacturing has been powering along, and today I'm about to finalise my QC, and approve the manufacturing of 19,158 light bulbs. 1000 (Edison Screw) have been made already and I'm really happy with the end result. We finally get our FCC ID Thursday too, and with that, we have all the certifications needed in the key regions. Version one of the iOS app is complete and has been submitted for approval and the Android app early next week. We'll let you know once they're ready to download! The core functions will be in both apps, with an update to follow shortly after with whole kit and caboodle ;)
Our focus now shifts to the logistics: sequencing, line capacity, packaging, tracking numbers and delivery. At this stage it looks like the line is capable of producing 1,500 units per day. So during the course of the next two to three weeks - all items should be manufactured (less the GU10's) and on their way. I'll report back on accurate figures as they start rolling off - as I'm keen to see the day-to-day output and targets being met and providing each of you tracking numbers as your bulbs are ready. If you need your address changed, now's the final chance to let us know! (By emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org).
In the meantime the over whelming feeling is one of relief and excitement. From Friday we're shipping, and it's a massive thank-you to each and everyone of you for your patience, support making this happen and the encouragement, questions and comments along the way!
Whilst this is a big day, it's certainly not the last update from us by any means, there's still lots of work to do on shipping, customer support, manufacturing the GU10's and getting those to you, and of course batch two ships in the not too distant future. We're also finishing off and releasing the hacker kit and SDK so we can start engaging with all the smart and eager developers that want to build cool stuff! So, no rest for the team just yet, but we're all excited and have a fresh sense of purpose and energy now with this big box about to be ticked!
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