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November 2, 2014
Tutorial - Wireless Arduino Programming with Electric Imp
about 5 years ago
Knock-off? Of open source? Is that even possible?
about 5 years ago
Nothing. And... your arduino is limited to being installed in a network that YOU have control over, where the Imp can go in a customer site that THEY have control over and you don't ever need to know.
If you sell 1000s of your Imp-enabled products, you negotiate with EI over your service charges, just like you do over the cost of the unit itself.
I make a small number of embedded 'arty' projects/products and the costs are tiny, per unit, compared to the retail price. My biggest gripe is the $30+ per unit to get IoT functionality in the first place, but they have a captive market - nobody else has developed such a clean, easy-to-use system for end users and the closest I can get actually ends up costing more to implement, with less functionality.
"Imp months start at $0.25 and scale down with volume" It's clear in the literature. As to the products going down the Swannie if your business goes belly-up, what I have done is paid an up-front fee for five years of service (at a discount).
As a technology goes, it is easy to get customers jumping at the chance to charge them an additional $15 for 5 years of IoT functionality over my existing Bluetooth connectivity. The advanced functions I can offer over the cloud compared to BT make it almost a different product. Enough so that an Imp-enabled device of mine goes for $100 more than a BT-enabled one, at a retail price of $399.
I like the business model, the alternative would be that the unit would cost me between $75-100 each which would price it out of contention. I have been in discussion about customers being able to take on the subscription cost themselves after the initial block I purchase has expired and it is under consideration.
And to those paranoiac about access by Imp to their precious network, I worry more about the police, the NSA and other federal agencies than a company who, if even a sniff of such a practice came out, would lose their shirt. Sometimes you just need to make a leap of faith.
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