Particle CEO AMA Today 2PM PST

Today from 2pm to 4pm PST, Zach Supalla, Particle’s CEO, will be here to answer your questions.Stop by and ask him about life, hardware, software, firmware, tupperware, his opinion of your favorite movie- whatever you want to know!

Post your questions here and Zach will answer them!

There will also be a live happy hour on zoom in the second half of the AMA, starting at 3pm PST. We’ll post instructions for joining in the thread. Hope you can make it :slight_smile:


Thanks Colleen for organizing.

ohh why not the trillion dollar question:
any new devices?

and in the meantime:
any new features coming?



@Colleen ,

Thank you - very glad to hear we will have this opportunity.

My question is this:
A little over a year ago, Particle split deviceOS into the new features (3.x) and Long Term Release (2.x) branches. The premise back then was that the Long Term Release would get updates in features and functionality only once a year. I know that the Chipageddon and Pandemic have likely pushed things back but, it would be interesting to hear whether Particle is still committed to this approach and, if so, when might we see new features / functions in the Long Term Support branch.

Of course, I would also like to know:
** With the introduction of the EtherSIM, we were told that, over time, more carriers might be added and that these eSIMs could improve cellular connectivity by surveying the local carriers and chosing the best one. An update on this would be appreciated especially for the US market where Particle’s rural coverage could be better. **

Thanks and I look forward to the session.



another potentially interesting question:

  • will Particle think about allowing to split the pricing plans so one can buy more devices OR more Data Operations?
    Today we can only buy BOTH at the same time.



Will this session be recorded? I might be able to call in but also traveling during this time. Would like to be able to listen in if possible. A few questions of my own:

  1. I second @ChipMC ask about rural coverage more specifically most US carriers are covered with the new etherSim except Verizon. What plans if any is there to add Verizon? What are the key technical barriers preventing Verizon coverage to be added and is Particle considering working through those barriers in the foreseeable future? If so, will this require a different hardware (i.e BRN404 ethersim or something new again).

  2. Similar products and companies to Particle.IO such as Pycom, Digi as well as others I’m sure, have added built in support to their platform for Sub-1Ghz communication. This includes libraries, hardware, certifications, etc. This can be 915 mHz, LoRa, mesh, etc. Several offer mesh capability within the Sub-1Ghz radio offerings as well (a huge advantage). This makes it attractive to many IoT use cases. This even helps alleviate the need for cellular reception from a specific carrier at the specific device location depending on the use case. The Particle.IO boron/electron/Argon, etc. could be located where the cellular reception is sufficient and then reach the locations where it is not with sub-Ghz radio integrated in. Is there anything on the roadmap in the foreseeable future (1-3 years) to better support/compete with other similar offerings from other companies such as Pycom and Digi in this space?

  3. I love particle, the platform, the community, the docs, the hardware, etc. It’s great… What you and the Particle team built is fantastic! I’m a loyalist for sure. However, is there any metrics used internally for support tickets? How long they are open? Lead time to closing a ticket? Customer issue is satisfied with the resolution? I’ve yet to be pleased with the amount of time it takes for a simple support ticket response. Most times it’s been 5-7 days before a response is received and many times I have to follow-up routinely (every few days) and keep poking at it before I get a response. Would be great to improve this process. I understand I’m hardly even a minnow in the big ocean of your customers but it’s been concerning at times for support tickets. Just some feedback that would be nice if was addressed/improved.

Thanks for taking the time Zach. Looking forward to the discussion. Hopefully it’ll be recorded.


Does Particle plan on covering the small size, low cost, sensor node BLE applications market?
I wish Particle offered a scaled down Xenon-like kit for BLE sensor nodes without Mesh or cloud support.
A Gen3 device would be the gateway to the cloud, but the cloud doesn’t know about the BLE node.
Also offer a simplified way of communicating with the module by hiding some of the BLE complexities of services and characteristics.
This would also allow using the same Particle IDE for the BLE node and the client device.
The BLE docs and examples are useful, but I see a long road to getting a BLE solution running.

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Thank you Particle staff for this opportunity.
I’d like to check if you have plans to support tinyML /embeddedML in the near future?
One of your former colleagues ported a Tensorflow lite library to 2nd and 3rd gen devices but it hasn’t been updated since (2 years ago) and its seriously behind the main Tensorflow lite library now.
On the other hand, Edge Impulse has a whole platform for data acquisition/model training and deployment. It’s been gaining a lot of traction lately and it has support for Arduino and nRF52840. It’ll be great to have gen3 devices officially supported in the platform, or at least to have a tutorial for how to deploy trained model on Particle devices.


@Colleen, Thank you for the opportunity.

The Particle Platform, Hardware and Dev tools are all very impressive. I’ve recently jumped into cellular with the Boron but have been using the old Xenon boards as my go to nRF52840 dev boards for quite some time.

Any new devices on the horizon?

Any plans to utilize the nRF5340 (dual-core low power BLE with Bluetooth Direction Finding ) or the nRF9160 in any ultra-low power cellular device in the future?

Also, a small, low cost Particle “Xenon” for BLE sensor nodes would be highly attractive.


This AMA will be text-only so all the answers will be available on the forums. We are considering adding a video component to future AMAs, if that would be of interest to the community!


that’s alright, If Bill Gates does text only AMA’s, why can’t Zach?

However, Bill provided proof:

How would we know it’s really him? :slight_smile:

another priceless proof:

just kidding a bit


I would third comments from @chipmc and @jgskarda - the promise of EtherSIM seemed to be the ability to utilize multiple cellular carriers but is still limited to AT&T and some TMobile towers within North America. When will EtherSIM devices be capable of utilizing US Cellular and/or Verizon?

I am under the impression from conversations with Particle employees that the technical support for other LTE Cat M1 providers is there (for EtherSIM enabled devices like TrackerOne 404), just that contracts for cellular access with these providers are not in place.


What a coincidence, Zach has some proof too!

There will be further proof provided at the time of the AMA.


7th AMA for Bill, but first one for me. Forgive my social media ignorance: How do I “attend” this AMA?

Just show up on the forums tomorrow and participate in the thread! I’ll likely just edit this thread to be the AMA since there are already so many excellent questions here.


Update: There will also be live happy hour on zoom in the second half of the AMA, starting at 3pm PST. Hope you can make it :slight_smile:


Hey folks! Looking forward to the AMA this afternoon. As Colleen mentioned, we’ll start here in text and I’ll respond to the questions that have been posted so far and others that show up, and then we’ll hop on Zoom for a casual happy hour. See you all then!


Getting started now! Will start posting responses to questions starting from the top of the list.


Hi Zach,

As someone who started his company with a family member in mind, have you continued to think about how Particle IoT can be used for those with disabilities or support projects around helping the life’s of those with disabilities?

Second, Apples or Oranges? Do be very thoughtful on this response, it could be catastrophic.

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Yes to both!

This year we have big plans both on new hardware products and new software capabilities that we’re adding to the platform. We will be making some of those product announcements within the next month, but more will come at Spectra, which we’ll be hosting this year in April. In addition, we’re going to be hopefully starting a more regular cadence of delivering new software capabilities over the course of the year.

I can’t go into too many details about what we’re working on, but stay tuned for a first announcement in the next few weeks as well as an announcement for Spectra (which will again be held as primarily a free virtual event that anyone can attend).