December 05, 2020

Sandman Doppler backers,

Wanted to drop you all a quick update!

Over the last 4 weeks, we have been hard at work shipping Dopplers to all of you lovely backers. We have shipped close to 1,000 Dopplers!


This is how we feel right now! We are happy, but we still have a lot of work to do!

If you haven’t received your Doppler or a tracking number for your Doppler, please verify that you have filled out and finished your Backerkit survey (Indiegogo | Kickstarter).

We can’t ship out your orders without confirming your address and if you haven’t confirmed your address in the last month or so, you need to do it again before your Doppler ships.

Here are the instructions again for those that missed it previously (at the top of this update): https://www.sandmanclocks.com/blogs/news/action-required-confirm-your-survey-now

Shipping update:

We have gotten the process of flashing, QA, and shipping down pretty much to a science now. It definitely took some long days to figure out how to optimize everything, but our average shipping number has increased slowly to around 60 Dopplers a day. We hope to improve this number over time.


Our shipping volumes over the last 4 weeks

The process goes as so:

After the courier picks up that day’s shipments in the early evening, we figure out how many Dopplers we estimate we can ship the next day and pull them from stock. We then unbox each one and place them on our flashing racks and plug them into power.

Once we power these Dopplers on, they connect to our office WiFi automatically and check into our over the air (OTA) update server. We run a couple of updates automatically on the Dopplers, this process updates the Dopplers to the latest version of software (the version that was certified by Amazon). These updates can take a while so we leave them overnight to update. In the morning, we have a cart full of freshly flashed and ready to be tested Dopplers! If there are any that have WiFi or OTA issues, we pull them aside for a secondary QA.

Once the Dopplers have finished updating, they automatically go into the Doppler Diagnostic Application (DDA) where we go through each one, one by one, and check every function of the Doppler. If anything doesn’t pass our QA, we set it aside for a secondary inspection.

After each Doppler’s functions are verified, they are automatically factory reset and then proceed to a physical inspection where we check the fit and finish of every unit using microfiber cloths.

Each unit that passes visual inspection gets wiped down with a microfiber cloth, boxed, and sealed with the appropriate sticker stating it’s color and USB type. This is also the point in the process where we put the appropriate international plug in the box and convert the Doppler to USB-C if ordered by the customer.

Then, we pack the Doppler in an outer shipping box with some goodies and seal it with our custom tape. Finally, we print and slap a shipping label on the box and it’s ready to go!


We have been shipping so many Dopplers we have been using pallet jacks to move them!


Dopplers in a UPS truck!

Updates are coming!

Now that we have shipped (or will ship once your survey is completed) your Doppler, our job isn’t over. We have some more features to add and things to improve. The Doppler in general is not as polished as we would like and we know this. First and foremost on this list is the app -- we are NOT happy with the current state of the app and are actively working on improving both its functionality and how it communicates with the Doppler. We are in the process of implementing cloud connectivity for the Doppler which would allow both your Doppler and the Sandman App to communicate with a cloud-based server allowing for control of your Doppler from anywhere. There are a couple of advantages to switching to this communication protocol: First off, you’ll be able to control your Doppler from anywhere without needing to be within Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) range. Another advantage is that we won’t be using BLE (for data) and Bluetooth (for audio streaming) at the same time on the Doppler, which has proved to be difficult. This should improve the Bluetooth connection for music which we know has been a problem for some of our users.

Once we have a more solid connection (via the cloud) we will be making improvements to the app which should have been there since the beginning but weren’t. First, we will add the ability to control the brightness and color of the Doppler and the ability to add your location for customized weather.

The Quick buttons (1 and 2) on the top of the Doppler are going to be integrated soon into Alexa routines which should give them incredibly powerful functionality.

We are also working on both Spotify and Apple Music support. Both of these streaming services require extra work, setup, and certifications to be done before they can be enabled in Alexa. For this reason, we decided to launch without them, but we are hoping to get these both certified and added to your Doppler ASAP.

Alexa Calling and Messaging support and Multi-Room Music support also require extra certifications and we are working on approval for both of these newer features of Alexa. These are both very difficult technically and Amazon has strict standards for certification -- We are hopeful both can be added as soon as possible.

Finally, Google Assistant is still something we are hoping to eventually add to the Doppler. It’s still in the backlog and Google has changed the way third-party companies can add Google Assistant to their products, making things more difficult as well. That being said, we are still hopeful and we think it would be awesome to have both services on the Doppler in the future!

We will continue to post Kickstarter updates and send emails as new features are finished and your Doppler will continue to stay automatically updated. If you ever have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to reach out to support!

Now available for sale!

Now that the majority of pre-ordered Dopplers have shipped, we are opening up the Doppler to general sales. We couldn’t have done this without your early support and we truly appreciate you taking a financial risk as well as the time to read these updates. The journey hasn’t always been easy, but we did it! Even if you aren’t 100% happy with your Doppler as it stands now, we strive to improve upon it and make the best product we possibly can via future software updates.

While it might be slightly awkward to end this update with a sales pitch… here it is. Selling more Dopplers means we can hire more developers and accelerate the process of adding new and improved features for all Doppler users. Your support allowed us to get to this point and now we need to sell as many Dopplers as possible! We think the Doppler would make a great holiday gift and if you order soon we will do our best to get it out to you before the holidays. We hope you spread the news of the Doppler to your friends and family.

Thank you again for your continued support and we look forward to updating your Doppler with lots of great new features in the future.

-PAI



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