Version 1 Product Updates
Chicago to California to China and Back
• 4 minutes read
The Scout team is finally back in Chicago after an extended stint away from home base. As we mentioned in our last post, we’re trying to keep everyone updated, while not being too repetitive. We’ve been traveling a lot, making progress and want to get you up to speed.
First things first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. No, we unfortunately do not have a finalized ship date yet. If you’re wondering why, you’ll find full details below. We appreciate everyone that has reached out and asked us for updates. We know it’s frustrating not to know when to expect the product and we appreciate your patience. We’re doing our best to pin it down for you.
What’s the deal with the ship date?
One of the things that is tough to judge from the outside looking in is how much variability there is in the manufacturing process. This is especially pronounced when you are producing a security system. Our first product can’t be mediocre. You’ve entrusted us with the safety of your family and we take that responsibility seriously. Our product has to be great. The biggest unknown is the process, and a big reason for the ambiguity, is a period of time in production allocated for engineering pilots.
The engineering pilots happen after the first units start coming off the line. If all goes well, and the first units perform in the same way as your final prototypes, you can get out of the engineering pilots phase quickly. If, however, the first units don’t perform entirely as expected, that is where things get more complicated. Not only do you have to diagnose and fix the problem, but then you have to go into an engineering pilot for the tweaked design. With each engineering pilot taking 2-3 weeks, this introduces lots of variability. If it takes you 2-3 more engineering pilots than you planned to nail everything down, you could be looking at baking in a fair amount of extra time. When we say we don’t know when the units are shipping, it is because we don’t know how the engineering pilots are going to shake out. Giving you a ship date would be disingenuous. We could guess, but we prefer to be up front about the reality of this process.
The Scout team was recently out in California for the better part of two months participating in an accelerator program at Plug and Play Tech Center. The program focused on the insurance aspect of the business and we’re excited about what we were able to accomplish. Working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week tends to propel things forward pretty quickly. The program culminated in a demo day, called Expo, in which Scout participated. We were voted as one of the top three winners out of the 40 companies pitching, which has led to a lot of exciting connections and opportunities for Scout. We’re looking forward to seeing where those opportunities lead us and hopefully the win will translate into some benefits for you, our backers.
Fresh off of our time in California, the Scout team headed straight to China for 8 days. This gave us the chance to meet with some of the folks in the factories, the project management team and to discuss project details in person. Not only did we accomplish a lot, but we also made it through our first typhoon experience.
We’re making progress on all fronts these days. We’re honing in on packaging for Scout. Scout is actively working on the licensing and permitting that we need to operate in all of the locales where we have backers. The software is coming together nicely and we’re heading into a design sprint at the end of the month to refine the installation process and graphic design. We think you’ll be excited about these aspects of our progress and we look forward to sharing more details on all of these fronts in the coming weeks.