November Update Page
Since our last email update, our team has successfully wrapped up our operations in China after encountering a series of challenges over the past few months. We identified issues with numerous devices failing to update, raising concerns about the potential failure of safe updates upon mass deployment. Throughout the last few weeks, our dedicated engineers engaged in an iterative process, experimenting with different solutions to address the OTA problems with our previous OTA company. After rigorous rework and testing, we made the pivotal decision to switch and collaborate with a new OTA firm based in the US rather than the overseas company. Up until now this new company has proven to be exceptional; their platform is remarkably better, their overall reliability and support is much better, and thus far they have met our expectations.
It's worth noting that this new OTA firm has an impressive client roster. Among them are Logitech, Bose, Latch. We are enthusiastic about the positive outcome ahead with our new OTA partner.
What is OTA? Over the air updates - the ability to release software updates, fixes, or new features to safes that have already left the factory.
Where are we now?
Our team has been working on the system’s OTA diligently these last few weeks and our engineers along with the OTA company’s engineers have not yet completed the work successfully. The reason for it is because these teams are in different time zones and each day brings new adjustments to try to finalize the OTA. All parties included estimate about two more weeks of testing for our system to work. So hopefully by the next update we will be able to update with good news again.
Trial Production Update:
Unfortunately because of the hold up with the OTA, the trial production units have been sitting in our factory waiting patiently these last weeks to be loaded up with the OTA software and shipped, and we cannot ship any units until the OTA is resolved.
For those who say “ship it anyways,” this means that any devices shipped from the trial production would NEVER be able to get any over the air updates, and the loss for manufacturing and shipping these units would be massive, so we have to wait until everything is ready.
We have finally been able to submit our product and components to a testing facility. The testing we have had conducted during this batch were tests that are required by governments in order to be able to import our safes where most of our community has placed orders; several EN tests, Bluetooth, FCC and battery tests. It's important to note that some tests, such as fire resistance and others, will be deferred for several months. The decision to delay these tests is rooted in their high cost, exceeding $50,000+, and the fact that they are not mandatory for importation helped us make this decision as a small business. For those who are not aware, Testing expenses can be substantial, and collectively, they can amount to over $100,000 for the comprehensive set of tests. We understand that some may have concerns about our testing decisions and their timing, but please recognize that these are strategic business decisions made to manage our budget effectively and expedite the delivery of safes to our valued customers. We will notify all of you once our testing is completed and approved.
Safe OS issue:
In recent weeks, we've identified several bugs within the safe's operating system that allowed devices to establish an internet connection, but unfortunately, for some devices, this connection couldn't be maintained. Our software developers have invested nearly two months of diligent efforts to address this issue, with our developers exploring a variety of different workarounds to ensure that when we deploy the safes at scale, this won't be a problem. We're pleased to announce that after countless hours of testing, in our testing, this issue seems to be resolved, but we will continue to monitor this and if any issues arise – an over the air software update will fix that.
Creating a product of this nature, especially one that's both manufactured and developed from the ground up, comes with its share of challenges. Most of these challenges are resolved behind the scenes and you never hear about them, so we wanted to provide insight into some of the minor hurdles we've faced.
Our primary goal is to ensure that we proactively resolve any potential real-world issues to provide you with a reliable product. Again, we wouldn’t want to have a scenario where you receive a safe and it doesn’t connect to the internet. For any other bugs that may arise, rest assured that we can address them through OTA updates. Your satisfaction and the functionality of our product are central to our mission.
While our extensive testing had confirmed the suitability of our locking mechanism for thousands of openings, our factory expressed concerns about using it in mass production and had forced us to change it in order to work with us. They believed the mechanism was overly complicated and feared that frequent key usage might cause the nuts to loosen over time. Despite our contrary findings, we had to make a tough decision: adjust the locking mechanism as required by them, or potentially face delays while searching for a new factory to make our safes. In the past few weeks, we have been hard at work redesigning the locking mechanism once again, and we're pleased to report that the trial production includes these new locking mechanisms. The locks from EVVA are unchanged.
The new locking mechanism, while incurring a higher cost than its predecessor, boasts a more compact design. This innovation allowed us to slightly reduce the door's weight and ensure the relocation of the key back to the left side beneath the camera. Throughout the testing phase in the past few weeks, we did encounter several issues with the new mechanism. However, we are pleased to inform you all that every issue has been effectively resolved.
To highlight just one issue, there was a small part in the mechanism that initially used plastic but was later replaced with metal. The plastic component, though seemingly fine initially, exhibited a tendency to bend over time with repeated use. As the motor operated, it generated a grating noise akin to a drilling operation; you can see the video below. This issue has been successfully addressed.
We are fully confident in the final version of our latest locking mechanism, which, despite its more compact nature, retains its strength and incorporates all the sensors present in the previous design.
For those who may question the decision to redesign the locking mechanism again, we'd like to provide some context. We explored multiple factories across the country during this stage, and a significant majority, 97%, declined to work with us due to the complexity of the overall product. The remaining 3% were interested but quoted a lead time of at least 6 months to reach production capacity. We were faced with the choice of sticking with our current factory and changing the locking mechanism, or experiencing a delay of at least six months or more. We hope you understand and support our decision.
We are fully committed to building a remarkable brand and delivering an exceptional product, and we sincerely hope you can appreciate our dedication. Many of you have patiently waited for over two years, and we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support since our inception. We know it’s a long time since you’ve backed us, and we are not happy that it’s taken so long thus far.
As you could surmise, regrettably, due to the recent developments mentioned above, the timeline has been further extended. This delay is necessary to ensure that the trial production units are thoroughly tested to prevent any potential issues with the mass production units. We understand that some of you may be eager to receive your devices, but it's crucial to avoid a situation where we have to recall 65-pound safes due to unforeseen issues, such as WiFi connectivity problems.
We are all in this together, striving for the best outcome for everyone. We apologize for the ongoing delays and appreciate your continued support throughout this journey. There are thousands of units that have been ordered worldwide, and we are well aware of your anticipation. In our next email, we aim to provide you with a detailed updated timeline as we are working diligently to fulfill your orders and give you a great product.
TLDR - SUMMARY
- OTA we are using is being changed and engineers have not yet finished
- Trial production will not ship until OTA system is completed
- Testing FCC, EN, etc. has begun to be able to export/import safes
- Fixed several safe issues for successful mass production
- Locking mechanism had to be adjusted again and ready for mass production
After our last update, we received some really nice messages from several of our backers, and we appreciate the support, thank you!