Winter is weird for getting things done, processes are slowed down, everyone is a bit low. And then the first few weeks of March arrive and everyone remembers that there is literally more light at the end of the tunnel (in our case in the UK even past 6pm!). So the latest update is a little technical but in the spirit of opening things up with our product here we go.
It’s very hard to understand what is there and what isn’t.
What we’re learning from building the next generation of Good Night Lamp which will use the latest low data ‘narrow-band IoT’ is that the network side of things (the telecommunication infrastructure) are *nearly* there. This is concerning. When I came up with the idea for the Good Night Lamp in 2005 the types of technology we now take for granted weren’t available to small businesses and that was tough. Turns out we’re back to that bleeding edge again. Further more the chips (hardware components) we’d like to use went from being supposedly available in Q1-Q2 of 2018 to Q4 meaning there’s still a lot of testing going on from everyone from the telecommunications providers to the chipset manufacturers. This is also a concern. There’s been quite a lot of press around narrow-band IoT and I expected it to be available out of the box by now after over a year of press releases. This makes it hard for us to know who to trust. It also means that whoever talks to me about 5G gets a massive eyeroll :)
Work with the best
The only upside of developing the Good Night Lamp and shipping our first product in 2015 is that we’re used to the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that comes with being on the bleeding edge and I’ve learnt to work with the best. Not the cheapest but the best. After 12 years in the internet of things space, it’s a privilege to continue to work with people I respect and I believe can help us deliver to our wonderful customers in the US. We’ve got an awesome backend service thanks to Tom Armitage and I’ve roped in Adrian McEwen and Factoree founder Lawrence Archard into helping us think about the hardware choices we’re having to make. We’re also talking to Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino since they are world leaders in open source hardware. I’d like the open Good Night Lamp to be based on an Arduino board if I can. As the first UK distributor of the Arduino back in 2007 this would be a great way to connect two parts of my work.
Thankfully we don’t have a huge batch of products to make (if you’re reading this from the US, you can still order yours of course) which makes it easier to use very early stage electronics which are often part of a manufacturing test batch. It’s going to be fun and hard, but mostly fun. Onwards!