What the heck is Alpha Development phase?

TL;DR: You want to be in our Alpha program because:

  1. You will have access to our great tools before anybody else
  2. You will be collecting data that much sooner which will make data you collect later even more useful
  3. You are GUARANTEED to get the absolute lowest price we will ever offer.  If we lower the price in the future, you will get the new lower price immediately plus credit for 2 years worth of the difference in pricing
  4. You can help form the core pieces of the Meshtronics user experience which means they will be a great fit for your particular needs before anyone else
  5. You want better insight into your process, even at this early stage we can deliver that and help you work smarter and more efficiently TODAY

<< Imaginary Q&A follows for more details >>

Q: So, what does “Alpha Development” mean exactly?

Wikipedia has a great article about the development life cycle that talks about what Alpha means in the grand scheme of developing stuff – in our case it’s not just software, it’s hardware that must play nice with the software as well.

Essentially we have reached a state of development maturity where we are able to deliver a product that is functional though in many ways not yet refined.

Q: You’re telling me it doesn’t work then?

Not exactly…  Things work, just not with the polish and panache you might expect from a fully-developed platform.

If the fully-developed platform is a Mercedes E-Series, we are at the “hey cool go kart” stage.  It goes and stops and turns both ways, but heated and cooled cup holders are a ways off and there is a small risk of bodily harm.

Q: Why would I want non-working electronics in my plant?

I see we’re not making much headway on the working vs. not working here, but bear with me.

The product we have right now is very good at capturing data from sensors (or people) and storing it to the cloud.  It even does some pretty decent charting and quick analysis on the cloud as well and it’s easy to download data back to your local machine if you want to.

Where we need to push development and where we need your help is applying the basics we have in place to real-world customer scenarios.

What sensors are you going to want to read?  How often do you want to get data from them?  How do you want that data organized and how far do you want us to take it from acquired to decision made?

So even in this stage, you will be collecting and have access to data you previously did not.  As our software and systems mature, we will help you make better use of what will then be historical data to predict, analyze, and make decisions with more contemporary data points.

Q: Oh, I get it now, so this is software that’s going to break in a different way every day as you make nonstop updates?

Love your optimism, friend!

It’s possible – even likely – that we will have some bumps in the road, but we are pretty diligent about testing things as much as we can before we send out updates.  That’s not a 100% guarantee that there won’t be issues, but as we gain maturity on the OTA (that’s over-the-air) update process we will make it as safe and painless as possible.

Q: Okay, your lies and misdirection intrigue me.  How do I sign up?

Ah, I’m blushing.  Just fill out our Contact form with a good phone number and time to call you and we can chat in person about what questions you’re trying to answer and how we might be able to help.