Building connected products is really hard. So hard, in fact, that a recent report published by Cisco found that of 1,845 business or IT decision makers surveyed, 74% saw their IoT projects fail before launch. That’s a truly abysmal statistic, even in the oftentimes frustrating world of hardware development.
The bad news is that it’s even harder if you’re building a cellular-connected product. Why? Unlike Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, cellular products require product creators to assemble their own connectivity infrastructure from a fragmented ecosystem of service providers. All IoT products require some level of coordination between a microcontroller, wireless radio, firmware stack, and messaging platform, but cellular solutions mandate the added challenge of opaque pricing, bandwidth commitments, rapidly changing coverage maps, and complicated cellular certifications.
A year and a half ago, Particle set out to revolutionize the way that people design and deliver cellular-connected products. We launched the Electron – an Arduino-like development kit with a global SIM card and an affordable data plan. The Electron simplified the lives of product creators by integrating best-in-industry hardware with worldwide, low-cost connectivity in a single package that comes connected out-of-the-box to the Particle Cloud and development tools. It represented a huge step forward for cellular prototyping, and quickly became the world’s most popular cellular development kit.
However, many of the features that make the Electron great for prototyping can become problematic at scale. A plug-and-play hardware design (pin-row headers, plastic SIM cards, and USB connectors) is a huge asset during an iterative design process, but doesn’t scale well for a mass-manufactured product. Members of the Particle community loved the Electron as a development tool, but asked for hardware they could use to upgrade their prototypes into industrial IoT solutions.
We heard and we listened. Today, we’re proud to announce that we’re taking our cellular platform beyond prototyping with the launch of the E Series – a production-grade family of 2G, 3G, and LTE-enabled connectivity hardware that vastly reduces the cost and complexity of deploying cellular-connected IoT solutions at scale.
Like the Electron, there’s no NDA or contract to sign to get started, and every module is compatible with Particle’s messaging platform and device management tools. Unlike the Electron, E Series modules include a number of key design features that help to optimize your product for deployment beyond the workbench:
- Embedded SIM card, which resists vibration, corrosion, and mechanical failure
- Surface-mountable design, which simplifies and accelerates PCB assembly in mass-production
- Extended operational temperature range from -20 to 85C for deployment in hostile environments
- Future-compatible pinout provides support for 2G and 3G today and a seamless transition to LTE M1 and NB1 technologies in 2018
- Fully certified design that virtually eliminates the cost and complexity of demonstrating RF and carrier compliance
The E Series is more than just a radio module – it’s a fully-integrated IoT solution that professional engineers at established companies are already using to deliver real products. It builds on the success of the Electron to provide a clear, coherent path from your first prototype to your first production run, and will help dozens of companies succeed in launching their first IoT initiatives.
Best of all, E Series modules and evaluation kits are available for purchase on Particle’s website starting today! Interested in building an IoT solution with the help of the E Series? Let us know – we’d love to talk with you.