How do you compare vs the Particle Electron?


#1

The obvious competitor to Konekt is the Particle Electron. I’m sure you guys already have a document listing all your differentiators–can you list that? I’ll get it started.

Hardware Price:
Konekt Dash + battery + SIM : $69
Particle Electron Kit : $69

Service Price:
Konekt: $0.40 + $0.60/MB
Particle: $2.99 first MB + $1/extra MB

Firmware
Konekt: no source available yet
Particle: large library and HAL available.


#2

@andrewongd Thanks for summing up the pricing. We do not have a public document listing all the differences yet. Something that is definitely needed, as this question will come up a lot.

Currently with firmware we are working on a new version scheduled for late June release. This release will be open sourced :slight_smile:

Probably the most important separation between Konekt and Particle are the business models.

Konekt is a cellular/cloud provider first and a hardware company second. As our customer’s product matures they will likely want to build their own hardware. For us that works since Data Service is our bread and butter. We strive to be hardware agnostic.

Particle on the other hand is a hardware/cloud provider first and cellular provider second. They want customers to always use their hardware. This is probably why their data charges are 67% higher than ours.


#3

Hey, @andrewongd . To be more clear, the Konekt Dash hardware product competes with similar hardware products, but our cellular network ecosystem actually contains a significant number of Konekt Dash users, users of third-party hardware, and user-designed hardware. We provide connectivity and hardware, and our connectivity platform has been developed and in use for several years now. This question pertains to the hardware, only.

I updated the price in your original post to reflect a slight mistake in our numbers. The Konekt Dash includes a SIM, retails for $59, and $69 would cover the costs of the Konekt Dash + battery (+ free SIM that is already included).


#4

Hi I want to ask if you say that I can use third-party hardware then I can buy a “Electronic board” by Particle.io and use Hologram Data Network service?


#5

I’m also curious, can I purchase an Electron from particle.io and use it on the Hologram cellular service by installing your SIM card? Does this compromise functionality on either side (particle.io or Hologram)?


#6

Yes, it works. Particle welcomes 3rd party SIMs. HOWEVER, depending on your application, you may not like the results. Here’s why:
The Hologram SIM, working on the Particle Electron, will log on to a cell tower and connect to Particle’s Dashboard. You will see your data on Particle, and you pay Hologram for the data. So far, so good. Here’s where it gets complicated: The Particle board uses UDP communication, and sets a 23 minute keep-alive ping to keep that connection alive, in line with what their own SIM is set to use with the various telco’s. The Hologram SIM times out much quicker (maybe around 3 minutes or so), and drops the UDP connection. To keep the UDP connection alive, you can set a more frequent keep-alive ping on a Particle Electron (they have an IDE-level function for that), but that will quickly use your data. The figure is something like 1MB / 3 days. So the Konekt SIM, on Particle, works – but to get the same functionality it’s actually more expensive than Particle’s own SIM. There’s a lot of discussion over on Particle.io about this topic; search for UDP and/or Timeout and/or APN in their Community. Note: You also need to set the Particle Electron to the APN value when using the Hologram SIM ("apn.konekt.io). Hope that helps. Summary: Each company’s SIM seems well-suited to their own hardware, but some cross-pollinzation may occur!


#7

@HologramPat @benstr

I want to try your SIM card and cellular service on a Particle Electron. Can you tell me the suggested PING rate to keep the cell connection alive without doing it too much and eating up data more than needed.

Have you the Hologram SIM + Particle Electron successfully? Your data rates sure are better as long as the PING does not need to happen every 30 seconds, or something wich would defeat the lower cost.

Particles SIM needs a pin every 23 mins to keep the connection alive.

Thanks!


#8

So there are some interesting things happening here.

  1. UDP is not the best protocol for cellular communication because it needs to keep a connection open. We’ve developed a protocol specific for cellular which our Dash board uses. That said we do support UDP and any other protocols since we are hardware & cloud agnostic.
  2. Teleco’s set the timeouts not Particle or Hologram. in the U.S. Particle uses T-Mobile, we use AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. We’ve started talks with each one to determine their timeouts and discuss extending it for our use. But ultimately it is up to the carrier and they tend to set their own limits and stick to it.
  3. Providing data to Electron users is important to us. Our data costs are 40% less than Particle’s. We’ll keep you updated on what we discover on this timeout issue.

SerialCloud.print data usage
#9

Sounds good but I’m still clueless about what a recommended Ping frequency should be.

Do you have any recommendation on what the minimum Ping times should be?


#10

Any news on this @benstr?

To be clear, this timeout is only used to maintain the connection to the Particle cloud, not to the cell towers?


#11

Hi

I, too, am trying to evaluate whether the Particle Electron or Hologram Dash will best suit my needs. It looks like your hardware is pretty similar, and the pricing is roughly comparable. So, it comes down to the features of your cloud platform.

Are you able to make any comments about how your cloud platform and that offered by Particle compare? Also, can your platform be accessed other than by cell (e.g. using a wifi-enabled device)?

Many thanks for your time.

Dave


#12

Hi Dave!

My ultimate decision factor is usually the project but not knowing more about your project I’ll do my best to outline how I would decide.

TL;DR: Hologram and Particle offer a lot of similarities with Particle suited more for hobbyist whilst Hologram is suited for developers wanting more flexibility and scalability. Also Hologram cell service costs quite a bit less.

Hardware

  • Both the Dash and Electron are comparable in both features and price.
  • Both use a U-Blox modem which is the best-in-class for modem modules.
  • Both are compatible with the same sensors and peripherals.
  • One PCB board is black and the other is blue LOL
  • Both allow for Over the Air updating of the user firmware
  • Difference - Hologram will provide system firmware upon request, Particle locks it’s hardware to it’s cloud
  • Difference - Dash is 2G & 3G, Electron is either 2G or 3G (you need to decide ahead of time or buy both versions)

Cell Service

  • Both Hologram and Particle have global coverage
  • Particle charges minimum $3/month per device (incl. 1MB whether used or not)
  • Hologram charges minimum $0.40/month per device
  • Particle charges $0.99 per MB
  • Hologram charges $0.60 per MB
  • You can only use a Particle SIM with Particle Hardware
  • You can use Hologram SIMs with any hardware (even in an Electron!)
  • Particle uses UDP (more efficient when frequently sending data to cloud)
  • Hologram uses TCP (more efficient when sending in >50 minute intervals)

Cloud

  • Hologram’s CSR (Cloud Service Router) and Particle’s Integration service are similar and rely on user provided webhook URLs.
  • Particle allows only the electron cell board with their cloud
  • Hologram allows any cell board with their cloud (important if you appreciate hardware flexibility)
  • Particle provides their own web based IDE (good for hobbyist)
  • Hologram Dash requires the Arduino desktop IDE
  • Hologram allows any IDE when using other hardware
  • Particle has a nicer data logger (I like it a lot), Hologram has one in the works :wink:
  • Hologram stores your data for free for the life of your device
  • Particle deletes data after 12-24 hours
  • Hologram allows you to bypass our cloud if you desire
  • Particle requires you to use their cloud

#13

Thanks Ben. That’s really helpful.

A couple of follow-up questions…

  • Can I (easily!) use your cloud via a wifi connection (similar to the Particle Photon)?
  • Particle charge a fee for their cloud (at tiers above ‘prototype’). Is there any similar service charge for your cloud, or do you just charge cell data fees?
  • Are connections between the Dash and cloud secure? (Particle make quite a big thing about the security of their data link).

#14
  • No, right now this is not done easily. However we are working on very easy wifi capability in the near future, so stay tuned!
  • Currently we only charge for cell data fees, so our cloud is completely free.
  • Similar to Particle, the authorization of the connection between the Dash and Hologram Cloud is secure - so you can be confident that no one unauthorized is posting to your data stream. However, the data is not encrypted - for which I do not see anything that mentions encryption support in Particle’s docs either (please correct me if I’m wrong). We would recommend implementing your own layer of encryption that is most appropriate for your specific application.

#15

thanks @phogan.

If encryption is important to you (should be for everyone) here are my thoughts.

  • Hologram encrypts all data being stored by our cloud (encrypted at rest)
  • You’ll be hard pressed to find a Microcontroller powerful enough to support encrypting/decrypting data in transit.
  • Those who want to encrypt data for transit most commonly use a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone.
  • Hologram supports embed Linux with our cellular USB Modem
  • Particle does not support any cellular USB modems or BeagleBone.
  • Hologram has a killer free service called SpaceBridge allowing remote SSH over cellular, allowing remote management of your Linux machines.

Hope this helps. Appreciate these questions. Hologram and Particle are both awesome and I feel each have clear lines separating when one should be used over the other.


#16

If I remember correctly, Particle sims do not (or did not at the time I did the research) support sending and receiving SMS messages from the device.


#17

Can you tell me how the language and tools compare? I developed a weather station using the Electron. It publishes events to their cloud, and I subscribe to those events via a Photon. This allows me to use a whole lot less data than submitting an HTTP GET request directly from the Electron.

Is this model supported by Hologram? Would the calls be similar or identical?

Thanks!