Introducing our new pricing model with free development for up to 100 devices

Originally published at: Introducing our new pricing model with free development for up to 100 devices – Particle Blog

After nearly a decade of helping our customers deliver connected solutions to market, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about the unique challenges of scaling IoT businesses.

Today, we’re extremely excited to announce an entirely reimagined platform pricing model, designed around how our customers operate and grow, that provides more flexibility, control, and value to every individual and business building on the Particle platform.

  1. First, we’re providing a brand new Free Plan that delivers the best IoT development experience in the industry with support for up to 100 Particle devices, free of charge and with no time limit. Even better? Cellular data is included, so you can wave goodbye to per-device data plans and overages.
  2. Next, we’ve redesigned our platform thresholds around Data Operations – value-added platform actions that you control and use when you send, receive, or store messages with the Particle platform. With Data Operations, “background” platform messages like handshakes, keep-alives, pings, and even OTA updates aren’t metered and don’t count against your Data Operations limit.
  3. Finally, we’re unveiling two new paid service plans for scaling customers – a Growth plan designed for startups and small businesses, and a redesigned Enterprise plan for established companies with predictable demand. Both plans include significant improvements and enjoy all the benefits of our new pricing model like Data Operations, free cellular data, and free over-the-air software updates.

The result of these changes? A simpler and more flexible path to scale with Particle that provides you with the transparency, control, and platform functionality you need to build and transform your business.

Prototype and pilot with our all-new Free Plan

First, we are thrilled to offer a brand new Free Plan designed to provide a complete platform experience to developers and businesses piloting IoT solutions with Particle – no credit card required.

Our Free Plan offers far more value than you’ll find anywhere else in the industry and includes a Sandbox environment with:

  • Support up to 100 devices. Prototype, deploy, and pilot your IoT solution with Particle without paying a dime. Our Free Plan includes 100K Data Operations/mo and service for up to 100 Particle devices of any type.
  • Access to our best platform features. Advanced platform features like Fleet Health and Intelligent OTA updates, previously only available to Enterprise plan customers, are now included as a part of our Free Plan.
  • Cellular data included. Our free plan comes with a generous allotment of cellular data, so there’s no more need to manage recurring costs, overages, or per-device fees.
  • No time limit. Work at your own pace – our free plan has no expiration date or time limits.

The Free plan is Particle’s way of inviting everyone from weekend hobbyists to professional developers at Fortune 500 companies to start building with zero risk and zero commitment; simply purchase a Particle device to get started.

A flexible new Growth plan designed for small businesses and startups

Our Growth plan is our new flexible service designed to help small businesses and startups scale their IoT deployment without the burden of negotiated contracts and usage commitments.

The Growth Plan provides growing fleets with increased Data Operations and metered device limits that are purchased in service bundles called “blocks”. Blocks are available for Wi-Fi, Cellular, or Tracker devices and include:

  • 720K Data Operations per month
  • Support for 100 additional devices

Need more Data Operations? Simply purchase an additional block of service that corresponds to your fleet. Blocks can be purchased at any time and ramped up or down each month to meet the variable needs of your fleet.

Our new Growth plan also comes with significant benefits that were previously reserved for Enterprise customers, including:

  • Unlimited scale. The Growth plan allows you to scale your IoT product self-service by adding additional blocks of service for as long as you’d like.
  • Organizations, a unified entity for managing company-wide permissions and access controls across multiple IoT projects
  • Intelligent OTA, our advanced OTA delivery solution that enables customers to deliver fleet-wide firmware updates with context awareness and maximum speed.
  • Fleet Health, which provides a birds-eye view of aggregated device connectivity, API requests, and integration event metrics

Our new Growth plan is an unrivaled offering for small businesses and startups who need a complete, professional-grade IoT toolkit, larger allotments of Data Operations, and access to Particle’s industry-leading technical support to successfully grow and manage their IoT deployment.

A redesigned Enterprise plan with our best commercial benefits

Particle’s Enterprise plan is our flagship commercial offering that has helped more than 90% of our customers successfully get their product to market successfully within their first year.

In addition to our deepest hardware and software discounts, customers of our new Enterprise plan also get access to a number of new platform benefits that significantly reduce the friction of deploying and administering large fleets of connected devices, including:

  • Custom pricing plans. Enterprise customers work with our team of IoT experts to develop a package of Data Operations, devices, and professional services that are optimized to support your specific path to scale.
  • Premium support. Enterprise customers receive a dedicated Customer Success Manager and 24/7 access to our team of award-winning support specialists to diagnose and resolve issues when they arise.
  • Manufacturing grace period. For the first six months after manufacturing, inactive devices that are making their way through your supply chain are automatically deducted from your metered device count.
  • Annual usage pooling. Enterprise customers pay a single price for an annual pool of Data Operations and devices that smooths out monthly variability in consumption for large fleets deployed across multiple geographies.
  • No overages. When they exceed their annual Data Operations allotment, Enterprise plan customers automatically get more at a prorated rate that honors all previously negotiated discounts.

Like our Growth plan, Enterprise plan customers also get access to a free development Sandbox for each team member to support ongoing prototyping and development.

Migrating to our new pricing model

We’re incredibly excited to invite new and existing customers to sign up for one of our new pricing plans, starting immediately. All Particle customers will receive an email informing them

  • Free plan. Effective today, all new customers who sign up for a Particle account will get access to our new Free plan. Additionally, all existing eligible accounts with less than 100K Data Operations per month and up to 100 devices have already been migrated to our new Free plan and will no longer receive invoices from Particle.
  • Growth plan. All existing customers of our “Starter” and “Tracking” tiers who are not eligible for our Free plan will be required to migrate to our new Growth plan beginning this summer. Until migrations are completed, all self-service customers will continue to be billed at their existing rates. Please check your email, read our pricing FAQ, or contact our support team for more information about account migrations and billing.
  • Enterprise plan. All new Enterprise customers will automatically get access to the new benefits of our updated Enterprise plan. Existing Enterprise customers can choose to continue scaling with Particle under their preexisting agreement or choose to migrate to our new pricing model by contacting their Customer Success Manager.

If you have any questions, you can contact our Sales team for more information on any of our exciting new pricing tiers here.

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It’s too bad your new pricing plan is kept a secret. We want to know a numerical USD dollar amount in dollars per megabyte per month of cellular. Previously Particle charged $0.4/mb/month (over 3mb) while competitor charged $0.1/mb/month (for same LTE). I would love to see Particle’s new pricing, but the fact that the actual pricing is hidden behind a “contact us” page, and abstract references to the undefined term “Data operation” replace the previous concrete $0.4/mb/month figure, causes frustration.

If my Borons use 15mb/month of LTE data eacg, what will the monthly cost be per Boron? Is this not publicly or universally stated?

EDIT: Seems like the fine print details are able to be inferred from Pricing FAQ – Particle Support with careful study and mental effort. I’ll reserve my feedback until evaluating the new highly complicated cost model.

EDIT #2: Still seems like the price of “Growth plan” and the cost of “block” overages is kept a secret, so my initial reactions stand.

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These kind of abrupt changes make it feel more and more like my purchased particle hardware can be dropped out of the cloud or suddenly subject to subscription fees depending on the weather. See Cricut.

Auto migrating the day of the announcement is bad business, even for free users. There’s no reason you couldn’t schedule a migration for 90 days from now and allow users to click a button for earlier migration.

No one likes to hear “I have altered the deal” when they haven’t had a chance to understand what the new deal is.

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How do these changes affect WiFi connected devices? Are they included in the 100 device dev limit?

This 100%. Particle team, we need a migration period if you’re going to be making changes like this. We’ve been buying your hardware for 4 years now but this abrupt change is incredibly alarming. Please reconsider the grace period at the very least so we have time to pursue other options.

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What is a Data Operation and where can I see how many I currently consume?

Do devices on WiFi eat Data Operations?
Do Webhook actions count as Data Operations?
Do API/Web Console, Events & User Initiated Health Checks count?
Is there a size limit for a single “Data Operation”?

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Do devices on WiFi eat Data Operations?

Yes, any Particle.publish for both Wi-Fi and cellular.

Do Webhook actions count as Data Operations?

The webhook itself does not, but the Particle.publish that triggered it does.

If you are receiving data using the hook response, that will use data operations.

Do API/Web Console, Events & User Initiated Health Checks count?

Using the console or API itself does not use data operations. Calling a function or variable directly from the console does. Fleet health does not.

Is there a size limit for a single “Data Operation”?

622 bytes. With device OS 3.0-rc.2 and later it is 1024 bytes on some devices.

https://docs.particle.io/tutorials/device-cloud/introduction/#pricing

I agree. From what I understood, there is no way to add more data to the free tier. “It is not possible to add more data to the Free tier.” (From the pricing docs)

What’s the point of being allowed 100 devices if you only get a small fixed amount of data? The 45MB is described as “generous”, and it certainly is for only several devices, but if you have a larger fleet that consumes more data as in tracking situations, that’s nowhere near enough. I think it should be per device as before, and have the option of adding more for a reasonable price. I don’t have a problem with paying for data, at all. I just don’t like the attitude of this secret “Growth” plan with unknown pricing on data.

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I’m afraid Particle may have lost what little trust I had left in them because of this and other abrupt changes they’ve made such as deprecation of Particle Mesh (which I had thought was great). I don’t say that lightly, because I really wanted to like the ecosystem and buy more of their hardware. There’s a lot to like about their products and offerings, but if I don’t feel like I can trust a company, I’m not going to do as much business with them.

Exactly, I think this is a terrible business practice from a large, well established company. It’s common for small startups to fail and when I buy their products I know there’s no guarantee that the company will exist in 5 years. But this is on a different level and I expected more from a company like Particle.

Update the main article to point to https://docs.particle.io/tutorials/device-cloud/introduction/#pricing in addition to or instead of https://www.particle.io/pricing

The /pricing link is … lacking.

Do TCP/HTTP requests count as data operation? I’m asking because I have one Photon system making ~40k POST requests / day, (and several other Argons/Photons making about 20k request /device every month), and if that’s the case I simply need time to transition to ESP32 devices or similar.

Want to clear up a few concerns raised in posts above:

1. Only the free plan is going live today.

2. Existing self-service customers will have 3+ months to plan for migration to give customers time to adjust data operations usage and reach out to chat with our support team if necessary. Additionally, we’re providing discounts to legacy customers to support migration so that their monthly bill with Particle does not increase. We’ll be sending emails with additional information on customized migration plans this week.

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No, they do not. Only traffic sent through the Particle platform counts as a metered Data Operation.

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Appreciate the response, but we were grandfathered in on the “old” free plan which did not have any device limits so we don’t fall into whatever this “growth” plan is as we never made use of the “Product” API functions. Now we are faced with device limits mere minutes after receiving the notification that our account was being migrated. We’re not in a position to be retroactively billing customers we’ve already sold goods to over the last 4 years based on the old terms so this is a huge deal for us.

Can you clarify if accounts like ours were the intended target here? We’re wanting to keep buying Particle hardware like we have been but this is a fairly shocking reversal.

I think one source of confusion is that everything on the pricing page points to “Data Operations” and total number of devices but there is no mention of Cellular Data (MB) limits. My understanding is that all three apply:

  • “Data Operations” over cellular also count against cellular data limits
  • Non-particle-cloud traffic over cellular (UDP etc…) also uses cellular data allocation but not Data Operations
  • Non-particle-cloud traffic over WiFi does not count as Data Operations or Cellular MB
  • Regardless of how they are connected, the number of devices sets the minimum number of blocks that you need.
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Thanks for the clarification. It’s good to hear that WiFi devices are not limited. As for cellular devices, I think the new plan is great.

@solarplug can you DM me your account information? I’ll take a look and advise.

Sent, thank you for looking into this

@Idea your post is correct. Regarding MB caps…

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Yeah it’s not terrible- let’s just work on the communication. I think all confusion could have been avoided by pointing to the documentation page: https://docs.particle.io/tutorials/device-cloud/introduction/#pricing rather than the marketing page.

Or at least include links on the marketing page “What is a Data Operation?” & “What are the total cellular Data limits?”

The knee jerks and sour grapes could have been avoided by NOT EVER announcing and implementing account changes on the same day. 90 days, free tier or not, 90 days notification for paradigm changes will give customers some assurance that they won’t suddenly have a the scales tilted against them.

Good business practices with free tier devs means more paid tier devs.

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