Recon Jet Update – 15th August, 2014
It’s been a busy month since the July 18 update and I’m pleased to report excellent progress on Jet’s development as well as a significant and positive event in our company history. I had wanted to deliver this update to you on August 7 but to do so would have meant sharing incomplete information. My apologies for the delay and thanks for your understanding.
USA Tier One Contract Manufacturer SecuredA major challenge for early stage hardware companies making complex cutting-edge products like Jet is securing the critical development and manufacturing expertise of so-called “Tier One” manufacturers. Tier Ones typically will not work with early stage companies because their volumes are too low. Recon has solved this riddle. I am pleased to report that not only have we partnered with a top shelf Tier One supplier, first year production of Jet will be made in the United States.
This is a huge win on several levels:
- The manufacturing engineering expertise, tooling speed and know-how of our partner are second to none. They’ve made, literally, thousands of highly complex products and have a wealth of knowledge and competence that is critical to driving Jet across the finish line to delivery.
- The USA manufacturing base delivers significant benefits in terms of final design iterations and tooling adjustments.
- As Recon’s volumes grow, our Tier One partner can easily grow with us with no imperative to shift to a new vendor at a later date.
We’ve focused hard on-boarding with our new partner, which has included release of final designs for their evaluation and manufacturing planning. A key output of our partner’s review has been establishing the manufacturing road map and key milestones to commercialization.
Here is that plan:
- Last Friday, the 8th: Final prototype builds begin, based on final released designs. The August 8 versions were SLA/rapid prototype builds and they exceeded the team’s expectations.
- Late September: First sample units come off the manufacturer’s hard tool.
- Late October: Production validation builds roll out and formal field testing begins with 3rd party testers.
- Late December: Final pre-production units are received for final testing and validation.
- Late January to March: Production units begin to roll.
There are, of course, variables in the schedule that could shorten or extend time intervals between milestones. These are difficult to quantify so we’ve build in buffer to absorb unanticipated set-backs. At the same time we’re pressing hard to beat the January – March first ship window.
The Recon team and I also appreciate that the delay from September 25 is a tough pill to swallow. You are eager to receive your Jet and we’re at least as eager to deliver it. The disappointment of the delay resonates with all of us, but our confidence level remains high, particularly considering the engagement of our Tier One partner, who would not make a bet on Recon and Jet were it not for their belief in the product’s potential. This completely changes the game in terms of harnessing the critical expertise we need to “bring Jet home.”
For some time, we have been wrestling to achieve rich color tones in Jet’s still camera images. As an example, our tests were generating a dull grey sky on even the brightest, most brilliant blue sky days. We ruled out hardware problems quickly and the ultimate software fix was quite simple. But, running through the litany of possible sources for the problem required significant time and energy. The needle was found in that haystack and Jet is now generating consistently superb still images.
The second big win has been our success verifying ANT+ connectivity between Jet and 3rd party heart rate sensors. This is significant in that it paves the way for Jet’s connectivity to other ANT+ sensors (like power meters and cadence sensors on bikes).
Motorola Solutions (who made a significant investment in Recon earlier this year), showcased Recon’s Jet prototype at the APCO trade show in New Orleans earlier this month. APCO is the premier trade event for communications professionals in the public safety sector (police, fire, EMT, etc.). Integration with Motorola’s advanced communication solutions perfectly illustrates how the Jet’s capabilities can be extended to new high intensity use cases through bespoke software. (Jump to the fourth bullet in the Motorola announcement for more detail.)
Considering the changes in ship date noted above, we are still scheduled to increase Jet’s price to $699 (Euro 699 in Europe) later this year. While, of course, current pre-order customers with their order placed will lock in the lower price and receive a free spare Jet lens with every shipment.
Recon will host a Jet Open House here in Vancouver on Tuesday, September 9 from 5 PM to 7 PM. We’ll have multiple Jets for demo, as well as opportunity for guests to meet the Recon team and take tours of our development center. Any of you who live in town or happen to be travelling to Vancouver will, of course, be welcome to join us. Please email [email protected] if you plan to attend.
Thank you for your continued support.