Version 1 Product Updates
Where are we at with shipping? That is the question. Here is the answer
• 4 minutes read
Scout Backers, thank you for your continued patience. We know it’s been a long road and we’re extremely grateful for your support. We’ve appreciated your e-mails and we’re definitely long overdue for an update post.
So, where are we at with shipping?
The short answer: September 2014. We know we have been pushing back the date and, below, we explain why.
Why the delay?
First, let’s start with what is done. Well, pretty much everything - and that is what has been most frustrating. Packaging is a wrap. The iOS and web app are complete. The new website overhaul is nearly finished. We have a new explainer video and customer support section. Printed collateral is ready to roll. Our packers can pack-out orders in 2-3 days once we give them the green light. Pro monitoring support, insurance, licensing, reverse logistics - all ready for primetime.
Okay. Why haven’t we shipped out the bulk of the pre-orders?
Some systems have been shipped out to a limited number of homes. Not shipping to everyone at once was purposeful and the throttled, slow rollout of the device accomplished exactly what it was intended to do: find any remaining issues before over a thousand systems went out at once. We understand it is maddening to wait for a product, after delays, because we are equally as frustrated. We want our systems to be in the market more than anyone BUT we also realize that by following the rollout plan, we are getting to a point where this wait will end on a high note - our backers feeling that the product they waited this long for was worth the wait, because it exceeded expectations.
We want to ensure your experience will be a positive one when you receive the system.
At the end of the day, Scout is out to build an enduring technology company. By testing devices with a subset of backers and fixing issues before a mass release, we ensure that goal is preserved. It’s not about perfection, we know we’ll constantly be improving on all fronts. It’s about setting the tone. If we come across an issue that we know will upset the vast majority of you and can fix it in a week, we’re going to take that week to fix it.
Dealing with angry emails, Facebook posts and tweets about delays beats the alternative every time. If the tone that gets set is one of overwhelmed customer service, poor Amazon reviews and a bad first experience, then both the company and the backers lose. Our goal is to be serving our backers for the long-term, not rushing something out the door to silence people on social media.
Let’s get technical. What issues are we exactly dealing with?
Internally, it looked like the first week of September was going to be the ship date until an issue that wasn’t previously an issue popped up. We had to get to the bottom of what was happening. That involved testing whether it was the PCB board printing, bad chips or if anything changed in the manufacturing process.
There have been two main issues delaying us after our 2nd design verification (DV2) engineering pilot and before mass production.
First, we had an issue with the cellular chip. 100% of the units in DV1 had working cellular chips. However, in DV2, a higher than acceptable number of chips were failing to make a cellular connection. This was particularly strange since no changes to the cellular circuitry had occurred between DV1 and DV2. As such, we had to (and have) gotten to the bottom of the problem before shipping out 1500 systems.
Second, the balance of range and battery life is a tricky line to walk with wireless, mesh devices. Some of the battery optimizations we made along the way ended up affecting our target range. As such, we’ve been making modifications to both along the way. We now feel like we arrived at a good solution on those fronts, but it took time. We’re actively testing daily to ensure there are no unintended consequences.
This all brings us back to our ship date.
We’ve previously shied away from making exact date predictions on shipping for exactly the reasons above. We’ve been asked repeatedly to provide a firm date. We’ll tell you what we know: Our team is optimistically targeting the second week of September to ship. Realistically, it will be sometime in September and events that happen in the next two weeks will determine the exact date. Pessimistically, we don’t know what we don’t know and something else could always come up. That’s not the tidy answer people want to hear, but it’s the truth - not just with our devices, but with any hardware crowdfunding of any complexity.
What we hope you all know is that this team cares deeply about shipping an awesome product. It’s so close. Stick with us. Thanks for your patience!