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Adding intelligence to everyday things in your world, so that your life can be more awesome.
5,694 backers pledged $1,209,423 to help bring this project to life.

The good, the bad, and the ugly....

Posted by SmartThings (Creator)

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:

http://www.smartthings.com/news/open-physical-graph.html

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.

Comments

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    1. JC Wright on

      Thank you guys for the update. I appreciate the fact that you guys are doing things the right way and making so much progress! I feel like everyone who backed understood that Dec was a bit optimistic and especially with the response you've received.
      By the way, if you need help packing things up let me know. I'd love to come see your operation and lend a helping hand. And if someone from SmartThings shows up at my door they will be shown wonderful hospitality. Keep up the AMAZING work!

    2. fmotta on

      YAY!!!! An update with an Estimated delivery date!!!! How rare!!!

      Thanks - I look forward to hearing more!

    3. Mark Warren on

      Will the Contact Sensor battery contacts accept LR61 cells? LR61's are the same diameter, but 3.5mm shorter than AAAA'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AAAA_battery
      (9V batteries often contain six LR61 that cost much less than rarer AAAA cells.)

    4. Andrew Brenner on

      It would be awesome if the motion sensor was able to incorporate some additional multi-sensors, like temp/humidity.

    5. William Clements on

      I agree with Kelly. Can you provide us with a printable PDF that we can provide to gift recipients that lets them know some details about what their gift is going to be -- when they get their hands on it in Jan/Feb? Thanks!

    6. Missing avatar

      Andreas Chrastka on

      from what i read in your update i'd guess u guys are working flat-out... fingers crossed u get some pieces out before year ends... as international backer i'm kinda relaxed cause i knew it was going to take longer... feb. sounds quite nice - now keep pushing - you're on the right path...

    7. Missing avatar

      Chris B on

      @SmartThings ...
      Where in Michigan you gonna be? Let me know when and where I need to be to help package!! :)

    8. Sarah Strunk on

      I will keep the hot chocolate warm just in case someone shows up in a SmartThings T-Shirt, all cold and red-eyed. One more word. I know a great place for parts. especially if you are having trouble with lead times. Digi-Key!! ☺

    9. fmotta on

      It seems that the project manager is concentrating on making a good product. So, I am really asking for a date of completion.

      Remember, until a new Estimated delivery date is provided we as intelligent backers are going to continue asking - save time avoiding it and provide it and we can pay attention to other things instead of nagging project managers to BE project managers and do AS a project manager does and provide project dates and deadlines and update those involved like a responsible PROJECT MANAGER.

      Those projects that have given me an Estimated delivery date within a few weeks of today or further into the future I can say "as far as I know it is on time". For those projects that are late or nearing delivery and provide new Estimated delivery date some time in the future then backers are left to check in and nag to GET that Estimated delivery date!!!

      It is called an ESTIMATE for a reason. Estimate like a professional please.

    10. Missing avatar

      Phillip Scott on

      RU saying there a phased build?
      If so I would opt for v1.1 v.s 1.0.
      :-)

    11. Kelly Malone on

      So here is a suggestion. Provide all your backers with a downloadable one-page flyer about this product for those of us who bought these as Christmas gifts. We can wrap that up and everyone is happy.

    12. Wabice on

      Appreciate the heads up on the push back. I too was hoping to start tinkering with my SmartThings pack before next year, but from what I've seen with other projects is that the final push to get mass manufacturing going is what gets tripped on all the time. (Heck I never realized the whole certification process your team, and likely the other projects too, has to go through just to get one of your products ready for prime-time until you explained it here). I knew it was a bit ambitious, but the amount of progress made is still impressive in my opinion.

      I'm sure I am repeating what others have said before me: Make us a product you can feel proud sharing with us rather than trying to rush out something for the sake of time. None of the cool toys I been wanting to integrate with SmartThings are coming out until at least March 2013 anyway. :P

      Also @fmotta It was scattered here and there, but it seems they may actually be able to ship some out late December and are planning to gradually fulfill all their backers throughout January and February. (That's what I interpreted at least, feel free to call me out on being horribly wrong and clarify since that detail is confusing me too)

    13. Missing avatar

      Pat Backen on

      Awesome update! Like most of the other comments here, I am happy to wait a couple months for a higher quality result. With that said...I would LOVE to have a knock on my door in late December! Happy to help beta test as well. And I am just a couple short miles away!

    14. Jason on

      Thanks so much for keeping us informed. I agree with the Quality over timing sentiments. I am a software tester by trade, and understand shipping it right the first time. PLEASE continue to keep us updated like this. Other Kickstarter projects could learn a lot from having more consistent feedback and info to the backers such as this.

    15. Peter Pugliese on

      Some disappointed these won't ship in December; however, I'd rather wait a month and get a better product. Thanks for keeping us updated on the product development. Can't wait to get the FINAL product.

    16. Aaron Barnette on

      It seems like we have a good group of backers, I agree with the others. Let's get this right the first time. Keep up the great works guys!!!!

    17. fmotta on

      My concentration of concern has been relate to this effort and the reward I hope to put to use. So, no I hadn't found a desire to go to the external reference.

      I see the clear message that you will not reach the December date. Thanks for the simple and clear message.

      I cannot see a new project date, just a date missed. What is the new projected date for delivery?

    18. SmartThings Creator on

      @All - Thanks for your understanding.

      @Chris B - We're manufacturing in the US initially. This way we can be on the line watching the quality closely. That said, the Chinese Holiday does have an impact on components. We're working to pre-order as many as possible right now to have inventory on hand. (PS - We're actually manufacturing in Michigan, so we're closer to you than you might have imaged. Want to help package them up?)

      @Nate - Check out the previous post for some links to GE / Z-Wave outlets, switches and dimmers. We're all installing them throughout our homes now. They work great.

      @Chris - When we send your Thing ordering form, you'll have a complete description of each one.

    19. Eric Schuld on

      Nice to see the progress you are making! I'm sure there will be many disappointed comments coming on the shipping news - but I for one am happy to see some of the changes/additions you have made and think any delay is worth the additional features. (Temp sensor on the contact sensor for one - and the addition of the flood sensor is great! I will be ordering 2 of them from the separate unfortunate water experiences I have had this year between my central air and my washing machine...)

      I personally would rather you take the time to make everything right rather than risk some poor implementations by rushing a product out the door. Any disappointment you will receive from people will only be due to the fact that we are so terribly excited to get our grubby hands on the product!

      Thanks for the update!

    20. William Clements on

      Thank you for the update. Little disappointed that I won't be able to give them as Christmas gifts, but hopefully I'll be one of the mid-January deliveries. It wasn't until after I pledged for SmartThings that I found out that almost all Kickstarter projects have delays of 3 months or more -- so in actuality, if we get delivery by March, SmartThings is doing better than average. Thank you guys for all of your hard work and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product sometime next year! -Will

    21. Julian on

      I agree.....Quality over release date. Take your time and make the best product that you can.

    22. Joe Capel on

      Thanks for the honest and open feedback. Yes, quality over release date is a good call. Keep up the good work!

    23. Missing avatar

      Chris B on

      Also... Michigan is pretty close to Minnesota... so, maybe a road trip to drop off some packages?!? :) :)

    24. pclabtech on

      I found the quote in one of the updates for Chris:

      We’ve always planned to to have a Presence Sensor, but thanks to your support this simple sensor has become the awesome SmartTag. It senses Presence, Motion, Vibration, Angle and Temperature - all in one tiny package. You can see some recent designs of the SmartTag in the image above.

    25. Missing avatar

      Chris B on

      Thanks for the update. I think most us have realized that December was probably too ambitions but I'm glad to see some real dates rather than just "we'll tell you when we're ready" stuff.

      I don't know if you mentioned where these are being manufactured. If any work is being done in China, have you considered how the Chinese New Year might effect the production?

    26. Missing avatar

      Derek C on

      I thought this was one of the best, most detailed, and most informative updates I have seen from a Kickstarter project. With that extra funding, I know that SmartThings will be better than I could have expected. I thought that December was pretty ambitious, and I am okay with the delay. Keep up the good work! I look forward to receiving them in February.

    27. Missing avatar

      Nate on

      @SmartThings - Thanks for the update, good to hear its chugging along. As a super early bird, I really don't mind if my delivery date isn't til February, but would love it if you decided to jump down to Iowa to hand delivery :)

      Also, a question, I'm currently in process of building a home that will be finished in late February, any suggestions for things to do for SmartThings integrated into the home?

    28. Kraksx Hacks on

      You say, some will be delivered Dec (to meet goal) but most end of Jan- early March.
      Is it first come 1st serve? Or will you be trying to ship 1st to those you want to have it sooner (maybe Devs, markers)?
      I'll still hope ill have it for Xmas, but will expect now for my bday (March)
      Ps, I have coffe/ hot chocolate ready for anyone with a smart things shirt on ;)

    29. Missing avatar

      Benoit on

      Thanks for the thorough update. I'm sure most of use will agree that a couple months off target is no big deal... and it will give you a bit more time to get test the mobile app extensively :)

    30. pclabtech on

      I am cool with delays, at least it's not rushed out the door.

      @chris, the tags are 1 product. They sense Temperature, proximity to the hub, and have an accelerometer in it for x/y/z and I think altitude, and/or motion detection such as shaking the unit. I could be wrong. But that is what I believe is in their description.

    31. Missing avatar

      Muescha on

      because of burned cooking today: please add a smoke detector (with its own alarm spekers)

    32. Missing avatar

      Andrew Woodworth on

      I'm in no great hurry and recognize a target is just that: a target. I'd rather be a little late with an improved product than on target with an inferior product. Keep up the communication and I'm happy.

    33. Missing avatar

      Chris on

      Pardon my ignorance but is there a list of all the tags available on launch AND what they currently do (as I've noticed some tags have had added features) and could I change what tags I want to receive?