About 2 years ago a startup called Apigy was rejected by Kickstarter for their Lockitron project. Their concept was pretty basic: a connected door lock device that could be integrated with existing household hardware. Once installed the user could control their front door via an associated smartphone App. The rejection by Kickstarter, while certainly stinging at the time, spawned a fork in the road for the crowdfunding world as the geeks at Apigy created their very own crowdfunding platform now called SelfStarter. The source code has been adopted and altered by crowdfunding maverick CrowdTilt and has subsequently been utilized by some big crowdfunding project names.
Lockitron, while blessing the world with their open sourced code, had their own project to manage. They quickly raised $500,000 in a blink of the eye and went on to raise several millions as consumers saw the value in in the Lockitron product.
While many early backers have received their committed Lockitron hardware – there are still some waiting for delivery. Lockitron has kept all abreast with frequent updates on their company blog – a prudent approach. Yesterday one of the talented scribes at Apple love site AppleInsider gave a thorough review of a recently delivered Lockitron. The review was a bit less than glowing stating;
“Lockitron is a novel idea and the hardware definitely has potential, but the current execution is not quite up to snuff. Most troubling is the lack of quick access and remote monitoring, as these are the very features that make a smart lock smart.
Bluetooth Low Energy or other low power system (z-wave with an ethernet-to-z-wave dongle at the router, not unlike the Peel universal remote control from a few years ago) would allow Lockitron to stay awake and accessible from the outside world, and not leave us with uncertainty over whether or not the door was locked. BLE has yet to be incorporated in any useful way, however.
Hopefully Apigy will make the necessary changes to make good on its promises, but with a host of currently deactivated or sometimes-working features, using Lockitron is more of a hassle than it’s worth. “
They do note that Lockitron is constantly rolling out frequent updates for better functionality.
Lockitron highlights one of the challenges of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding products are frequently prototypes that are not yet complete. This increases inherent risk to final functionality and feature set. While I expect Lockitron will fine tune their product over time some backers may feel somewhat short changed in the beginning. Part of the crowdfunding process is enabling someone with a cool concept to bring it to market – and that is something that is not necessarily measured in dollars.
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