Hello Particle friends! I have an interesting question for any one that knows how to/if this can be done.
I need my customers to pay for the Electron’s data via the app (simple enough) but I don’t see any documentation around this. I email email@example.com about this but I haven’t had a response yet (will added it here when I do). In a previous email with particle they mention that I cloud charge our customers for the data and they would charge us, but what I don’t understand is how does the user activate the sim card if I charge the user and there is no way for particle to know they payed for it.
Great question @Jean-Pierre!
Currently, the suggested architecture is that your company claims the SIMs (which makes it easy for Particle to handle data charges with you directly), and then your company charges your customers with whatever markup / flat rate / service that you’ve decided makes the most sense. So they’d really be separate transactions in that case. Does that makes sense and sound like it would work for you?
Let us know!
Thank you for your replay @jerrytron I understood the Idea that I would charge my customer and then particle would charge me. Now what I don’t understand is if there is a API or something that will tell particle to charge my account when my user/customer gets charged for the data. or do we have to manually do it.
Hello @Jean-Pierre. Currently, as mentioned above, you would have to manually handle SIM claiming, and the conditions for each sim (data limits for example). You would get charged at the end of each month for the base service of each SIM, along with any additional data used by your customers.
You are correct that currently we don’t have the tools for allowing organizations to manage SIM cards, but that is part of the plan!
Let me know if you have any more questions about this. Thanks!
Interesting, so in other words there’s no automated way of letting our customers manage their sims even if it’s under our account.
ok this is a big question can I programmatically via the electron/app tell it too pause the sim of any charges. for example: if our user doesn’t want to use it this month but next month they do again without having to wait for someone at our company to start it for them?
if not what kind of payment model do you recommend I offer our customers. keep in mind it could be for 100 to 1000 users that’s why it would be hard to manage it by hand.
We had in mind a pay as they go model, but now that seems a little hard.
In our app, we are going to add a page where they are going to pay via credit card. My only concern is that because there’s no two-way communications with our app and particle and if a significant number of our customers don’t get charged and we get charge our bank account could go into the negatives numbers fast( exaggeration but you get my point)
Thank you and any recommendation on how to proceed are welcomed. If there are any documentation on how we would go about to claim the sim before the unit are sent to the user that would be great
Jeff here, one of the engineers @ Particle. Thank you for pushing us on accommodating these use cases for Electron-based products. This is something that we actually do not fully support yet, which is likely why you are running into lacking documentation and insights from us.
Over the next quarter, we will be building out more robust tools for product creators like you to manage a group of SIM cards that are used in your Electron-based product. Some of the things on the roadmap include:
- Being able to “own” SIM cards as an organization, instead of just as a user
- Activate/Deactivate organization SIM cards from the dashboard, and/or via API endpoints
- Seeing data usage across all SIM cards in your fleet
I will say that we will likely not immediately be building tools for passing on data usage costs to customers automatically. This may be something that we would build in the future. But for the first iteration of SIM management for organizations, you will likely need to design a system that monitors data usage of your customer’s SIM cards (likely via SIM-specific data usage endpoints), and interfaces with your internal billing system to charge them based on their usage.
For the immediate future, the only solution that currently would unblock you would be to pre-activate all SIM cards going out in your fleet to a single Particle user that belongs to your organization. We do already have API endpoints that allow you as a Particle user to see how much data each SIM has used (these API endpoints power the dashboard’s billing/usage interface), which you could use if all SIM cards were owned by a single person. I’m happy to share with you these endpoints if you think it would be helpful
In the long term, this approach is of course not scalable, which is why we’re going to be working on the SIM management tools for organizations mentioned above.
Hope this unblocks you, at least for the time being,
Thank you for your explanation and your time. ok know the only question that would remain would be how do my users claim their device from our setup/app if we can do that?
Good question. I think I’d recommend the following (if you are using Simple Auth, not Two-Legged Auth):
Before shipping to your customers, pre-activate and claim all SIM cards to your user account that will be used for billing.
Put the SIM cards in the Electrons and ship out to your customers
Have your customers create Particle customer accounts from your setup app with a username and password
Have your setup app create a claim code using the ICCID and allow the customers to claim the device to their customer account
Now, your customers will have claimed the device, but be using SIM cards owned by your user account.
SIM management through API will be great!