Particle Mesh update — a note from the CEO

Interesting update, very interesting comments.

  • Using Particle cloud in particular is a business risk. It would be good if Particle offered support for BYO Cloud, ie Google or AWS and then Particle could be connected as a pub/sub client for OTA etc. At minimum a way that you can remotely change a device’s cloud to be your own version of spark server, ie https://github.com/Brewskey/spark-server, as that may satisfy due diligence for exposure to strategic/technical/business decisions by Particle. Spark Server was originally maintained and positioned as the “don’t worry, you’re safeguarded” so it’d be good to see active maintenance of that and a way to dynamically switch devices remotely between cloud servers. That would engender some more confidence in the platform horizon.

  • I do worry just like mesh that chasing cellular is another shiny stone. It’s pretty high risk in a relatively congested overseas marketplace, so no doubt it’ll be go go go to achieve headway. There were solid comments re code stability of the core range of P1/Photons that have massively suffered in the haste to get gen3 going. I’d ask for serious consideration of Long Term Support trains for P1/Photon so the significant issues with code review and bugs don’t continue. It’s not a 3 legged race, the priority for deployed P1 IOT devices is stability.

  • It really isn’t clear who or what Particle’s customer segment is. There seems to be a disconnect with accurately servicing current customers in terms of logistics, customer support and platform stability. It was originally hobby’ists, then natural progression to folk who commercialise and sell ~1-10k devices P/A, then mystery use case mesh customers, and now another niche segment with folk who are happy to pay mobile network access fees for their device. I’d have thought a solid business could be built doing the basics well with servicing what I presume is a large P1 customer base. It’d be interesting to know the volume and use case characteristics that Particle are prioritising so prospective customers can make an informed decision as to whether it’s a mutual fit.

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So much for going to the moon with Particle

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Scale input: If a company is serving a chain of locations outside US with mobile devices, today Particle is out of the picture, as that last location loosing the contract is out of coverage of the one operator supported for that country.

You would loose the contract to those guys with the 4G Cat 1 + 2G/3G fallback solution, with an e-sim that actually cover most operators in most countries.

I’m not surprised at all about the decision to discontinue support for MESH. I don’t think the Xenon’s should be discontinued however, they could still be used as very inexpensive and very good BT and NFC devices. I have a small network of devices setup doing some home automation stuff. For the most part things have gone pretty well with a few kinks but nothing major. It did make me wonder how a company with a large deployment of mesh devices would faire with these same kinks and quirks? I’ve watched along in the community at the posts of different problems that folks were encountering. It’s obvious that the Mesh was not ready for PrimeTime yet. That, coupled with the analysis after being out for a while of how folks were using it and the amount of time, money, and resources that would be needed to over come the hurdles and really make it great… I could really see how that could be an even worse blow for Particle than the decision to call it quits. It’s unfortunately a business decision you sometimes are faced with. I can’t blame Particle one bit, although a bit disappointing, but I completely see their end of it. At least for me I have enough Argons and Borons already to replace all of my Xenons. I know those who have large scale commercial products are really going to suffer. I have a project going to make some digital machine counters and was going mesh but I can easily switch that up and do all WiFi with Argons. I wish everyone the best! I’m still a big particle fan and look forward to what’s in store for the future. :slight_smile:

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Please forgive but a silly off topic comment: I’ve always wondered what “… and do the other things” meant. I’m not even sure if I ever got an answer even from Google! I’m old enough to actually have heard this speech live but still don’t have a clue what the other things were…
:slight_smile: philly

@will Just checking in to see if the video of this webcast is available yet.

It is :slight_smile:

https://blog.particle.io/2020/01/28/mesh-deprecation/

Any chance of a guide for mesh to BLE code conversion?

Have you looked at this topic? Library for creating a local group of devices using BLE

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@armor Looks interesting, thanks for sending. But looks like there’s a limit of 3-4 devices per net, do you of any way of adding more?

You need to read to the end of the thread!!

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And the BLE connection seems devoid of any security?

For folks who asked, blog has been updated with the livestream:

I’m quite happy to see this decision, but I never invested in the Mesh platform beyond trying it out. When I got my first 5 devices, I couldn’t get the setup to work. I left it in a drawer for about a year and tried again. Still no dice and I told Particle employees about this. Particle have basically come to the conclusion I did.

I’m glad they are honest about this & I think they made the right choice. I now have 3 commercial and widespread products (that I have designed for different customers) based on Particle and there really isn’t any better alternative that I know of.

PS: If you have a product that need mesh, try solving it with LoRa rather than becoming angry. Like @zach says, it really is a better solution. Get a radio from Adafruit to test with and note the massive range you get? Combine this with a wifi device from Particle, and you have a really nice gateway with some OTA capabilities.

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I will try and make my response as objective as possible. However, it is hard not to let the emotions get in the way in a situation like this. Everyone takes a gamble hoping to find success. Particle took a risk on developing Mesh. I took a risk and believed in Mesh and what I could in future accomplish with it. At the moment I am disappointed that I will not be proceeding with my idea and frustrated that I have good hardware that I cannot put to good use.

My first objective statement is that of my own fault. Particle has contacted me at least 3 times in the recent past. I assumed this was only to see if Particle could aid in getting my idea to market since someone noticed that none of my hardware had been claimed. My fault is not responding and so Particle did not receive my feedback prior to making this significant decision. My excuse was being occupied with four environmental events potentially caused by climate change and numerous aviation business & “incident” events. It was too easy for me to say that I will respond later once High Availability arrives.

I mentioned that my devices have not been claimed. They have not yet been unboxed. These were all ordered when the third generation hardware was announced and available in the pre-sale. When the fee structure was later announced for ongoing services, I decided to NOT start prototyping and instead wait for High Availability to make the best use of my resources given the constraints of the fee structure.

Particle has offered compensation for the discontinuation of the Xenon, due to no longer having Mesh support and no further value in the Particle ecosystem. However, I can find ways to re-purpose Argons and Xenons for personal projects. I no longer have use for most of my Borons since their intended use depended on Mesh and High Availability. I am not convinced Particle understands our greatest loss is Mesh and the potential High Availability offered, rather than the loss of the Xenon.

I request that Particle set Mesh free. There are a few reasons that I make this request. At least, I would like to know if Particle considered this and what was involved in this decision. It appears we are losing functionality with the loss of Mesh. Killing off Mesh sets some of us back. Making Mesh available, possibly as a library as someone previously suggested, at least keeps the functionality we have now.

In reading various posts over time on the subject of High Availability, it seemed this meant different things to different people. Particle attempting to make Mesh everything for everyone may have been attempting the impossible. With a basic set of Mesh functions, many of us would be capable of self-managing our own Mesh networks. I am suggesting that each case may be unique such that self-management was the only practical solution anyways. The power of the Particle community in these forums might shine once again if we have flexibility to develop solutions ourselves.

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@cyclin_al, I don’t believe it is feasible to make mesh as it stands today, into a library. The Mesh capability is heavily embedded into the DeviceOS (OTA, pub/sub, etc.). In addition, the RAM and flash limitations of the user code would be severely limiting if at all feasible. A stripped down version of Mesh, using existing Nordic SoftDevice capabilities, may be feasible but without the Particle “extras”. Again, RAM and user flash will come into play.

What I believe is more feasible and likely more practical is to use a standard LoRa hardware platform coupled with a community-proven library to implement Mesh. Some good work has been done with RFN95W boards and may be worth investigating.

Given where Particle is at, it is my opinion that no more resources (beyond DeviceOS v1.6.0) will be committed to Mesh so I would not expect any “free” Mesh to happen. Particle needs to focus on its client base to secure present and future revenue. As much as the Particle platform is amazing for makers, without revenue, they will not survive.

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The only hope I’d have for mesh in 1.6.0 would be to lift all restrictions about multiple Argons/Borons as part of the mesh without them having to give up their cloud connectivity.

This has (in my personal perception) always been restricted to keep the potential open for monetizing on the HA capability. Since that’s gone down the drains the restriction absolutely needs to fall too IMHO.

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@peekay123 & @ScruffR,

Thanks for your responses and clarifying a few things.
I will start a new thread on the topic of the future of Mesh here [edited]:

There is a difference between set Mesh free vs. provide Mesh for free.
@ScruffR hit closer to the mark with

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We would like to thank everyone for participating in this discussion, which has provided valuable insight into the needs and wishes of the community. This thread will now be closed, however we will continue to engage with your concerns and questions regarding Particle Mesh and all Particle products and services. Please post new topics that require more information than can be found here and keep the conversation going.

Thank you again.

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