7 years, 3 months ago
#MakerMonday revisiting Ding, the smart doorbell
We caught up with John Nussey from Ding 10 months on from our first interview, a lot has changed in the world of IoT and connected devices.
Nearly one year has passed since we spoke to John about funding for the Internet of Things and the role of consumer IoT. A lot has happened for his team and they are currently crowdfunding to bring Ding to market - they’ve just hit the $100,000 mark, doubling their target. There’s still time to support them so head over to Kickstarter and be the first to have a truly smart, beautiful doorbell.
Q: We last spoke ten months ago, what have you been up to since then?
A: We’ve been busy! After securing the funding from the Design Council Spark we set about planning our next steps. We started working with Map as our design partner and also began developing our technology, with plans to launch our Kickstarter. Avril and I even got married in that time too and completed an accelerator at JLAB with John Lewis.
Q: Congratulations! What a year! It’s great to hear you were part of JLAB, what did you learn there? What was the process like? A: We learnt a lot about retail. We applied because we wanted to work with John Lewis who are one of first (if not the first) high-street retailers in the UK to open an entire smart homes department. They’re one of those companies that’s ingrained in the British public, partly because they have a cross section of the UK working for the company itself - my Grandad even worked for them at one point! They’re not necessarily a technology leader, but they do know what their customers want and the fact they now sell smart thermostats, bulbs and maybe soon doorbells is a great sign that we’re on the right track with Ding. We worked regularly with Buying Director Johnathan Marsh and Head of Innovation John Vary who love Ding and have given us a lot of their time and experience. Q: How has Ding changed since we last spoke? Tell us about the redesign process.
A: Ding’s changed quite a bit in looks since the last prototype. We had identified some of the elements we liked and wanted to work with Map to really explore the potential of the design. The real breakthrough moment was the design of the chime. The lozenge shape worked either vertically on a wall or horizontally on a surface and the fabric cover gave it that homely feeling that we wanted. We’re trying to escape from “the plastic box” and although that’s a difficult task it is possible to at least conceal it and give the product an appearance that works well with the rest of the home. Our button has a brass option to allow it to fit in with the rest of your door furniture and the chime fabric feels more like a nice speaker than an “IoT Hub”.
Q: What advice would you give other consumer hardware / IoT startups based on what you've learnt since setting up Ding?
A: I think the best advice would be to find like-minded people to join your team as soon as possible. It can be tempting to just keep your idea to yourself, but you’ll quickly realise that your job as the founder is to steer the company and you’re better off working with people who can focus on the specific areas that your company needs. In my case for example I love electronics, but that part of my brain is completely different to the side that needs to pitch for funding. Since working with our engineer Peter we’ve been a lot more focused because we’re not juggling so many different responsibilities.
Q: You’re on Kickstarter! Tell us about why you turned to crowdfunding?
A: Yes we’re funded! Crowdfunding is probably the best way to test your market if you're making a consumer product. Many investors want to see that traction and even if it’s only tens of people you immediately get feedback and learn about how your product will be judged on the market. It’s not to say that it’s the only way to go but for us it makes sense and gives us an initial order. Kickstarter is an important part of our funding strategy but we’re also raising investment following the campaign. If you’d like to support us please head over and spread the word with a few clicks.
Q: Tell us a bit about your campaign and what you're raising money for
A: The campaign is a great way to launch the product and company publicly and also to make the first batch of Dings.
Ding starts at $129 for the charcoal grey button and chime and we’ve also released two Kickstarter specials for both a limited edition colour Ding for $139 and the brass Ding for $149 - brass is definitely our favourite.
Q: Finally, what's the big dream for Ding?
A: For Ding, we want to make products that help you live your life without you even knowing it - simple, elegant, smart products. Personally, we’re just excited to get Ding out there to see how it’s used. We’ve had some excellent comments from backers, one is even on a tropical island, so we’re keen to do some extreme weather testing out there!