17 Replies Latest reply on Feb 24, 2020 6:38 AM by BigG

    re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit

    rscasny

      This one puzzles me. I only received 19 applications for this roadtest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit

       

      I'm not sure why I received a low level of interest.

       

      Any Idea why?

        • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
          michaelkellett

          One reason I can think of is that the Bluetooth module is paired with the support board which is based on an 8051 processor.

          This isn't exactly mainstream.

          8051s were OK in their day and the Silabs ones are quite quick (for an 8051) but they not in the same league as modern ARM based parts like ST's STM32Gxx or STM32Lxx (or even SIlabs' ARM based parts.)

           

          MK

          3 of 3 people found this helpful
          • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
            shabaz

            BLE is a great problem-solver, and this kit seems ideal for those wanting to use BLE in an easy way.

            Maybe people didn't understand, that this kit contains a module that has a simplified connection (UART) that can be connected to (say) existing microcontrollers, to extend a design into something that is BLE-capable. The module even looks hand-solderable.

            As well as new products, it has great applications to retrofit BLE into products - e.g. if a customer now wants to have configurability via a PC or mobile. Can't stand products with awkward button-press combinations to configure them... I have a speaker/mic for my PC/phone, this should be a trivial product, but it is so complicated to remember the button-press combinations (and how long to press buttons for), I had to write and print an instruction sheet and stick it to the back of it..

            5 of 5 people found this helpful
            • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
              lui_gough

              I suspect one of the reasons is that with any of these sorts of development boards, for people who may not be familiar with the toolchain, APIs and IDE used by a given company's products, it can be a rather steep learning curve that takes quite a bit of time. Depending on the value of the product to their needs, this time investment might not be justified, especially if they have a lot of other things going on - e.g. for academics such as myself, it's basically the middle of grant application season (amongst other distractions). After the amount of head-scratching I did for the last BLE-board I reviewed (Cypress EZ-BT Mesh), I'm not sure I'm quite the right person to take on the challenge either ...

               

              - Gough

              4 of 4 people found this helpful
              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                easyejl

                I had pondered it, but already had/have too much else going on. I also couldn't come up with a really specific cool testing/usage scenario that would be something I'd want to make anyway, which sort of is my requirement to apply. If I don't have something i'd want to build for myself using it anyway, it's a bit more likely I won't put the time I need into it being thorough.

                3 of 3 people found this helpful
                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                  14rhb

                  I ponder for you this question....

                   

                  I saw this appear for roadtesting and thought about applying. Straight away that sounds a bit undecided doesn't it?

                   

                  The reason I had reservations is eluded to by lui_gough regarding the steep learning curve. I've roadtested a few boards now and it can be quite random whether the experience is a fun, learning activity with a great outcome or something filled with trouble and plenty of investigation and nights of worry, finally ending in an embarrassing write up. Obviously I'd expect this Silicon Labs to be the former case . It is that uncertainty, even after reading the great promotional videos and literature whilst preparing an application, that has made me sit on the fence for this roadtest. Whilst sitting on the fence I ended up doing the Maxim MAX32650-EVKIT which has turned out to be a great bit of fun (roadtest report to follow soon).

                   

                  Sometimes if someone from the company is available on E14 they could be on standby to say 'hello' and answer questions on the roadtest page prior to applications being submitted, I recall this does sometime happen, and appears to be greatly appreciated. In this case I could have asked about the required IDE and drivers. They could also be there should that initial critical install fail once the roadtest has been received; usually the forums are great also IMO but someone on E14 might just help. As the roadtest closing date looms they would be able to drum up additional interest if necessary by posting interesting information about their product? Another approach on some items that you suspect will be less uptake on would be to ask the sponsot to run a webinar prior to show off the unit and take questions. It could form a good basis for who to choose?

                   

                  Obviously some roadtest products attract hundreds of applications and there is no need for the online mentor, but some might just benefit IMO.

                  3 of 3 people found this helpful
                  • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                    neuromodulator

                    I was interested in the EFM8, but not so much in the bluetooth module. Since I'm currently short in time, and the price of the board is low, I decided to buy one instead (a laser bee), and learn how to program these at my own pace.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                      clem57

                      I speak for myself, but other folks may chime in as they wish. For me it is an ROI problem here.

                      1. Does it spark MY interest. In this case it did for the use case described by shabaz. But does it meet other criteria
                      2. For the product costs, does it fit? I try not to work with a RT that is too expensive or too low cost. Why would I invest too much time when I can just buy and use as I wish. On the other hand if expensive can I justify enough time to such an expensive equipment
                      3. Do I have a unique idea or proposition? This product may have interesting use cases, but I could not see/do them.
                      4. Time available? Not enough since I am in a RT that will be heavy time usage. I Could not commit even with a help from Randy! It would not be fair to the vendo

                       

                      So even when #1 looks good, the other items have trumped my hand and I must sit this one out.

                      Thanks Randy for asking!

                      Clem

                      • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                        thebluephoenix

                        I think majorly it was because -

                        - its based on 8051, which many might consider antique. Well, they are ignoring the fact that silicon labs has made it so much more faster, i can't wait to test it.

                        - its low cost, so no one wants a timeline to follow when they can buy it and learn at their own pace. But then the point of roadtests is to help others learn, and learn in the process. Not just learn alone.

                        - its documentation and use is not widespread, and it can prove to be challenging. That's something that'll make this roadtest intersting for me. Hence i applied for it.

                         

                        And I am glad that i did. The space invaders demo that comes with the board just made me nostalgic and happy at the same time!

                        • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                          rscasny

                          I want to thank everyone who participated in this discussion. Your input is helpful. While my job is to recommend products for roadtesting and assist our sponsors in understanding the program, I sometimes heed some help in seeing the big picture. So, thank you.

                           

                          I have one last kit to roadtest. I would like to use it. Since enrollment for the roadtest is closed, I think a better approach would be to offer it to a member who would be interested in using it to build a project. If you or anyone you know would be interested, leave a comment, or message me at rscasny

                           

                          Thank you for participating in the element14 community.

                           

                          Randal Scasny

                          RoadTest Program Manager

                          3 of 3 people found this helpful
                          • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                            colporteur

                            I just finished watching the latest episode of Picard so I feel like using a space analogy.

                             

                            If this RoadTest were a moon, it is currently not orbiting the planet (i.e. technology) I am delving into.

                            As shabaz alluded to in his post doesn't plug into or interface with technology I am currently playing with. It would require a major mental shift, to shelve what I am working on to take up the project.

                             

                            I think it also came at a bad time because of competing RoadTest that do fall into my technology road house.

                             

                            I did read it and do some brain storming but couldn't find the time to commit. To fully understand it would have take some additional time to develop.

                              • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                kas.lewis

                                Hello,

                                 

                                I wanted to add my two cents even though I've been missing in action for long while now.

                                 

                                Speaking for myself and I think it has been brought up before is the issue of return on investment (ROI). For a kit like this the ROI is very now, but that not the whole issue. I have spent hours on small kits like this to ensure I give the best possible review. I often deal with the company behind the review to resolve issue and help give a better explanation of the product and its issues. I did this recently with the NXP motor Controller I reviewed.

                                 

                                For me the real issue comes with the lack of acknowledgment and progression with a kit like this. When I first started doing roadtests I was happy to just get selected with the idea that I would eventually graduate to bigger better and more interesting kits and even equipment. The concept of show what you can do and then you will be rewarded was how thought of this whole endeavor. This is not to say learning is not part of the adventure, but that learning bigger and more complex products would be in store after showing you can learn and review the smaller ones.

                                 

                                This never really happened. I've applied to a number of the larger more interesting roadtests but never seem to come out on top. Instead I see people selected that seem to only apply to these larger more complex and valuable roadtests winning. The idea then became, why give so much to a community that seems to only reward those that only enter for the good stuff and not those that put in a lot of efforts for the smaller stuff and are willing to start from the bottom. It was the same reason I disliked the "top member" concept, there are a lot of people that contribute here and help out but it seems there was an inner circle that you could not get into even with a  lot of dedication if someone on top felt you were not worthy.

                                 

                                In short, I stopped applying because I felt in some ways like the sucker taking the easy to get stuff and working twice as hard to get a decent review only to be passed over when it came to the more advanced and somewhat interesting gear.

                                 

                                That's my 2 cents

                                Kas

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                  kas.lewis

                                  I'm currently using a different version of this bluetooth module and had looked at doing a sort of review of it but passed on that. I'm looking to use it in a project of mine that I'm currently working on hence my questions with the MKR1010 and its UART interrupt structure.

                                   

                                  Overall it's a great board easy to use but will only talk to other boards of the same type, it's got some proprietary framework thing in the bluetooth (It's late and I looked into it a few months back before I started looking at teh code). This means that you can't talk to a bluetooth module from another vendor unless have the right software. Hence you need their app or thir framework in your android app to be able to use it with your phone etc.

                                   

                                  For my project it works as its pretty much a point to point connection but if you wanted to talk with random other bluetooth devices you'd be stuck from what I recall.

                                   

                                  Kas

                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                • Re: re: Why Wasn't There More Interest: Silicon Labs Bluetooth Design Kit
                                  BigG

                                  I've been absolutely fascinated by all the replies give here. One thing that struck me is perspective, especially on ROI.

                                   

                                  It struck me that there are actually two perspectives when it comes to ROI.

                                   

                                  There is the perspective of an employee or contractor (i.e. the individual) where ROI represents a view on whether this road test effort will enhance my capabilities and expertise and will the employment market value this.

                                   

                                  Then there is the perspective of the employer or the business owner where ROI represents a view on whether this road test will provide competitive advantage by gaining first hand knowledge of the capabilities and the most likely development effort + BOM cost required to produce a product using this device.

                                   

                                  It's become clear to me that you cannot always marry the two.