Spark IO Returns to Kickstarter With Cellular-Connected Electron Development Board

Electron 3

Spark IO (Spark) recently returned to Kickstarter to raise funds for its first cellular-connected development board, the Electron.

Electron 4Spark is best known for the Spark Core and Photon, its Wi-Fi development kits for creating products for the connected home. The Electron extends the Spark platform beyond the reach of Wi-Fi networks and into connected devices from smart farms to smart cities. The Electron is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter starting at $39.

Co-founder and CEO of Spark, Zach Supalla stated, “We’re surrounded by cellular towers designed for our mobile phones and tablets, but those same cell towers can be used for all kinds of products. We hope to bring this technology to the masses and enable a whole new generation of connected products.”

The cellular Internet of Things, typically referred to as “M2M,” or Machine to Machine, has been slowed by complex negotiations, opaque pricing, burdensome contracts, and old-fashioned business models that hamper innovation at all but large companies. Spark’s goal is to break down these barriers by partnering with cellular carriers to provide affordable, contract-free cellular service for connected products. The Electron comes with a SIM card and a $2.99/mo data plan that can be canceled anytime. Plans for both 2G and 3G cellular networks are available, along with international plans in select countries.

Electron 2Spark will provide all of the tools to manage data and devices on their website. Setting up an Electron is easy, and the Electron will have all of the great development tools that have drawn tens of thousands of engineers, designers, students, and artists to the Spark platform.

The Electron campaign is Spark’s third Kickstarter campaign. Their first campaign for a connected lighting product failed in 2012, followed six months later by the launch of the Spark Core that successfully raised $567k from a $10k goal in 30 days. The Spark team is a Kickstarter veteran and returning to the platform for the community, not the funding.

Supalla added, “We’re trying to change how the cellular industry works and we need the voices of our Kickstarter backers to prove to the telcos that engineers and developers are worth investing in.”

Since its launch on Wednesday (February 25th), the Electron has raised nearly $65,000. It is set to close on April 1st.

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