The good, the bad, and the ugly....
Hopefully you all saw some of the amazing updates we announced at the LeWeb Internet of Things conference in Paris this week. We just closed a $3M investment round with some of the most influential, innovative and inspiring investors and entrepreneurs in the world. This funding is critical to ensure that we can deliver an exceptional product to you when we first ship, as well as innovative and expanding capabilities into the future. We want to be with you for a long time!
You can read more about our announcements and how we continue to pursue the vision of an open physical graph here:
If you didn’t get to see Jeff Hagins, our CTO, on the stage at Le Web, you can see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDMqWD_2Okg
Psssttt....he’s the ugly from the title :)
But we understand what you really want to know is.... when are we shipping? While we still have hope to ship some in December it will require everything to fall into place and won’t be a big volume. Those earliest users will help us refine the product and experience such that each subsequent delivery is better and better.
There are big, moving parts. We are pushing every boulder up the hill as fast as possible. Sometimes they roll down the hill and crush our toes. We learn and push harder. All is on the table.
Most critically, please understand that we have 24 FTEs working in the company across connectivity, security, UI, and more. Your product is not going to be sub-par.
Note - For all our International backers, please forgive the US/Canadian specifics below. See a specific update at the bottom.
Choosing Your Things - We know many of you are ready to choose the Things in your kit, and candidly we want you to as well as it will help guide our manufacturing runs. We’re finishing up the code that will dynamically let you make your choices based on backer tier, amount you pledged, etc. As added value and as part of our open approach, we’ve added an option to get a Z-Wave Flood Detector that we’re partnering to make available. More Things = more value. If you’ve ever had a flooded basement, this might be for you. Be on the lookout for a personalized link coming in email within the next few weeks.
Certification - Every device has a radio in it of some sort, which means we have varying degrees of certification obligations across all countries.
The SmartTag passed its FCC/IC Certification testing in November. We’re finalizing where we can put the required labeling (in little, little font) and then we’ll file the documents and can begin manufacturing in earnest.
- The contact sensor and motion sensor completed testing today (December 7th) and passed. The remaining work is simply to finalize the enclosures (see below).
- The Arduino Shield is using the same module and does not require certification, so we’re finalizing testing on that device and then will start pumping them out.
- The Hub, unfortunately, ran into some problems in pre-certification with specific power output on the Z-Wave radio and some spurious emissions from the Ethernet jack. We worked directly with manufacturers and eliminated 24 points of concern they raised. Many factors were improved and confirmed in pre-certification yesterday and started full certification today (Friday, December 7th). Our certification partner has promised to expedite the report. If they can do that, even given the Holidays, we may have a certified Hub in December at which point we will - not kidding - literally hand deliver as many as we have on hand since we need that certification to distribute. If you get a knock on your door on December 31st and you see a red-eyed person in a SmartThings shirt, let them in. Give them hot chocolate.
Enclosures - Every one of our devices has gone through multiple iterations of enclosure design. As you may know, production-ready molds for injection molded enclosures aren’t cheap and take time, so you want it to be right. For us, right includes many factors, including ease of access to critical parts (power jacks, Ethernet jacks, openings for batteries, pairing buttons), handling feel, support for multiple installation scenarios, robustness of the design, seating of the chips inside, stability of the battery enclosure (we’ve snapped a ton trying to choose the right one). Our status:
- Hub - We’re 99% complete. We’d like to thin some of the walls, add a bit of ribbing support, and add a recessed space for the FCC/IC label. We’re planning on ordering molds any day now. In the meantime, we’re having machined ABS versions built for early deliveries.
- SmartTag - The biggest challenge here is where to place the FCC/ID label. Look for itty bitty letters around the outer edge, but underneath the rubber ring.
- Contact Sensor - We decided to move away from a coin cell battery to 2 x AAAA. Yes, those exist and are available in drug stores, Amazon, and elsewhere. They will have longer life as we added the accelerometer and the temperature sensor to make this a multi-sensor. This required a new design for access to the battery casing. The latest iteration is off the press though, so we’re putting it through DFM (Design for Manufacturing) review in order to move to molds.
- Motion Sensor - We made some changes associated with where the power supply is plugged in (the motion sensor can be either powered and act as a repeater or run on batteries). We don’t anticipate any changes, so we’re prepping for molds now.
Mobile Application - You can see some of the current mobile application experience in the video of Jeff demoing (linked above). We plan to submit for App Store approval in 2 weeks, but expect frequent updates even once v1 is in the store. Our Android developers are cranking along, using the iOS app as a guide but also being sure to keep within Android conventions and best practices.
Manufacturing - We’ve chosen our contract manufacturer for our circuit boards and have a second we’ll be using to do short runs and rapid runs to optimize our delivery schedule. Most of our circuit boards are primarily surface mount (with a few through-hole components), and this manufacturer has 4 surface mount lines available for up to 2 shifts coupled with Automated Optical Inspection. All of this means higher quality and higher speed once we scale up. The main problem we’re facing in manufacturing is component availability. Some components are showing 15 week lead times for the quantities we need. These estimates always change, but for us to produce every kit, we need every resistor, chip and clip. In order to avoid these delays, we have been pre-ordering thousands of components.
Just Give It To Me Straight! Cutting to the chase, we expect our first full production runs to begin coming off the line in mid January. We will then be scaling up into February when we hope to deliver to the majority of our backers. We’ll continue to keep you updated as each milestone passes, including pictures of devices as they start to roll off the assembly line.
International - The uncertain component for International fulfillment is certification. As soon as we complete FCC and IC, we’re turning our attention to EU and AU. From there, we’ll need to keep knocking out country by country certifications. We expect EU to complete in February.
We used a micro-USB power supply (5V DC) for the hub, and the plug-in adapters convert from 90-240V AC to 5V DC. So the solution will work elegantly across borders. We don’t yet have a pluggable outlet for international markets, though we have some options. We’ll need to evaluate local Z-Wave options as well.
That’s the big update. We’re sorry we aren’t hitting the December 2012 target. Please know it has not been for a lack of all-nighters, all-dayers and our deep, deep care about providing you with an awesome experience as our first and bestest friends.