Particle Mesh update — a note from the CEO

We can help you out with this, OJ. If you submit a ticket to support.particle.io our team can look into your specific order and find a fix.

It is not the case that customers expected those kinds of transmission ranges, simply that the customers who we were working with the deploy Mesh were doing so mostly in commercial and industrial environments, versus in the smart home.

As such, extended distances across a factory floor, transmission through concrete floors of an apartment building, and penetration through metal containers were all challenges that 2.4GHz is almost suited to satisfy, but not quite. These are transmission challenges that sub-GHz technologies like LoRA are better equipped to overcome.

As a result, the majority of our Mesh customers were attempting to implement a communications technology that partially worked for their use case, but couldn’t deliver the strong reliability across a range of environments that those applications demanded. And, as Zach mentioned on the livestream, Particle is only successful when our customers are, and we weren’t confident that the majority of our interested customers could be successful with Particle Mesh.

2 Likes

Did you undertake to find out how many customers were able to implement Mesh successfully? You cannot make everyone happy. Sometimes its hard to say no to a customer with the promise of a large order. Could a scaled down product be supported within a viable market niche? Carefully defined specifications, field tests and Beta test programs help make better products, clearer expectations and happier customers. A small success is often preferable to a large and painful failure. Gain the experience with lowered expectations and iterate with your customer’s successes and failures. I feel for the individuals and companies that have invested a great deal of time, money and resources. Mesh technology (with its imperfections) made Particle stand out in the crowd, but now - not so much.

2 Likes

… Seriously? So, these were not aspects that you considered and tested thoroughly before you make us jump onto the bandwagon?

2 Likes

so you are launching the product first and then figure out who the target customer group is?

I’ve also supported Particle since the Spark Core and appreciate all the effort that went in to making the first accessible IoT Arduino type device.

Whilst we are using Mesh now, for a very specific case in Mexico, I always thought it seemed quite niche.

For our other projects, the ESP32 has been perfect. It is a fraction of the cost of the Argon or even Photon, and has a huge community supporting it. Getting cheap ESP32 boards made in china at low volumes is easy. I always thought Particle should have embraced this chip (not just as a radio for Argon), as well as other 3rd party devices. The Particle dashboard, OTA and console would have been a great contribution. As it is, Particle seems too closed an ecosystem and doesn’t embrace popular technologies.

Having said all of this, I agree that the cellular products are fantastic.

2 Likes

Hmmm, maybe a fancy way to scratch our heads or backs? Didn’t anyone come come up with that use case yet?

1 Like

Who knows when this will be discontinued…
I was also a Particle fanboy, all the greater is now the disappointment.

1 Like

True but in this case I choose to have a bit more faith in Particle here. In the Q&A live stream they ensured us that their flag ship products are not going any away anytime soon. I know it’s currently words but they have a good track record with the electron and photons so far. This might be a personal judgement call but for me, everyone gets more than 1 strike with time allowing wounds to heal (i.e. frequency) and how damage can be mitigated. No one will have a perfect track record forever and I rather channel the energy into damage reduction and future mitigation at this stage.

Mesh is hard and was hyped. But do take a step back and look at alternatives, and then reevaluate particle. Particle has still done a lot of good in my opinion and provides huge gains.

5 Likes

Slick marketing strategy: lure the customer with cheap devices (Xenon) to invest in and commit to your ecosystem. Then, when they are hooked, pull the rug and make them buy the more expensive chips that cost four, five times as much… and maybe lure them again with throwing them a little bone (a.k.a. “store credit”).

1 Like

I didn’t think mesh was going away either. I’m not quite ready to forgive and forget. I’ve got way too much time and money invested in this. My pockets aren’t as deep as Particle. I can’t afford to start over.

One thing is being overlooked IMHO. It was sold as something that was ready to go. It was not sold as an experiment that did t work. They as a company can make business decisions and terminate products, I get that. But they should not be selling it as a functional product. That is why they have changed their policy now. Further, I believe others have been successful. I don’t know much about it but I think pycom.io offers mesh, cellular, WiFi, sigfox, etc. I will be checking into it for sure.

2 Likes

Last I checked with pycom mesh was still experimental. I’ve not followed up on their stuff for over a year since I settled on particle. If cellular is a concern for you the last I checked pycom may also not have as wide an international coverage as particle but things may have changed. If you do look into it, I would like to know what you find as my knowledge about them is outdated (1 yr+) =)

Same here. Which is why my middle ground was asking if Mesh can be salvage by turning it into a 3rd party library or something. My orginal post is :

1 Like

I switched from Pycom products to Particle. For me they were not stable (hardware or firmware), were expensive, and had terrible LTE support. The community is pretty stale too. Pycom seems more focused on their PyLife consumer products now. Unless some other bomshell announcement is made, I’m sticking with Particle at least until I have a product that’s selling very well, at which point I may develop my own modules. Particle is still the best and shortest path forward for me at this point.

EDIT: Few other reasons I switched to Particle: No OTA system or user firmware support. Extremely buggy modem firmware. Devices that would simply stop working in the field and not come back online. DOA hardware straight from Pycom, and no response to several inquiries to customer service to get an RMA for them.

5 Likes

@picsil thanks for the heads up!

Every startup company has to pivot and make tough decisions sometimes. Particle could have handled this announcement a little better, but they haven’t lost my trust. I was already looking into mesh alternatives that better suited my application and had seen that the challenges Zach and team laid out were exactly what I was going to face. So fortunately I had nothing invested in mesh. But I do in Boron LTE. My thought is get to market quickly at a reasonable cost, and then optimize and scale from there.

At that point I will likely have to pivot. It’s part of building a business and I look forward to it, bumpy a road as it may be.

4 Likes

So not sure if anybody has asked this yet but is Particle planning on leveraging all that BLE 5 has to offer as far as BLE Mesh capabilities go?

Seems like the range is the same as the other MESH provided but on more stable Bluetooth foundation.

It would be nice to be able to have a Bluetooth Mesh capability for reading multiple mesh sensor nodes that would be within close proximity.

@will any info you can provide about BLE and your plans to maximize its features and usability into the future?

BLE on the Boron and Argons are allow me to create a nice solution to a widespread problem so I’m happy with the Gen3 product line.

2 Likes

@RWB I think I asked something very similar, but got no answer so far.

The possibility (BLE 5 capable hardware) is given, my main question is whether BLE mesh, or something similar will be officially supported or not. Timing is also critical for me, because I can not afford to wait for many months.

As far as I have heard - when I was lobbying for it - it’s not high on the priority list (if at all) and “definetly” not happening 2020.

However, if demand (an pressure for that) is high enough, reconsideration may (hopefully) be an option :wink:

5 Likes

Thank you @Scruffr, based on your comment, I’ve opened a new thread to discuss the BLE 5 Mesh support possibility, and reach some consensus, what we really need.

An immidiate discontinuing og the Xenon HW is a total no-no for IoT and Particle.io’s own mission statement. Unless a replacement stock is in fact being kept for already launched products for at least a year, this is worth noting for future reference.

2 Likes