Bird Buddy Blog

Bird Buddy November Update

Hello everyone,

We are really humbled by your support and extended patience that you have shown us since our last update where we talked about the delays in getting your Bird Buddy manufactured and delivered. It really means a lot to all of us and we are very grateful for that. With that said, we understand and share your disappointment and frustration and fully empathise why you are maybe upset about having to wait so long to get your Bird Buddy. As before, we start with a short summary first:

The main points

  • All components required to start mass production are in the factory.
  • We’re experiencing some challenges with firmware that we explain in more detail under the firmware section of this update.
  • We’re considering some alternative shipping methods to speed up fulfillment so we currently don’t anticipate major changes to the fulfillment schedule we shared previously.
  • In December we will share a dedicated page for you to track your Bird Buddy so you will always have a way to check the status and talk to our support team about any questions.
  • Manufacturing of most of the components has begun and we have a great video showcasing the process below.
  • The team visited our 3PL partner’s distribution center where units will be shipping out of next year and got to see the exciting automated process assisting fulfillment. See a short video below.

Firmware

A key ingredient in any hardware is the software that powers it. It’s what enables all of the features and interactions, and it’s critical that it is well tested and works as intended. Software that powers hardware devices specifically is called firmware. We’ve had some challenges on this front in the past month as we were getting ready for mass production that we needed to address before we start to ship the first units. Specifically, the ability to update a device remotely or OTA (Over The Air update) is not yet as stable as we would like it to be. This feature is essential to be able to provide ongoing support to the device after you receive it, so making sure that it works correctly is the highest priority for us. We’re now working overtime to test and validate the firmware and get the confidence we need. It’ll likely take about a month for us to get there so shipping units from the factory will be delayed until we do. We have ideas on how to reduce transit time enough to make up for this setback that we talk more about below in the “shipping and logistics” part of the update.

Manufacturing

Great news in that the first batch of much-needed silicon chips have arrived at our partner factory which means that we now have all the required components to start mass production as soon as we sort out the above mentioned firmware challenges. In the meantime, we’ve created a short video with footage provided by our manufacturing partner showing the hardware components being assembled. It’s really exciting to see things coming together.

Update page

We are all keen to see how your Bird Buddy is progressing from assembly right the way through to delivery. We are also aware that you may not wish to rely only on our updates to find out about the scheduling for your own individual unit. This is why we are building a dedicated website for you to be able to do that directly. This will also provide you with access to our support team if you have any queries about your Bird Buddy. We’ll share the details with you in our next update and you’ll be able to see the status of your Bird Buddy all the way until you receive it.

Shipping and logistics

Despite some unanticipated challenges on the firmware side, we’re still aiming to start fulfilling units in the timeframes that we’ve shared previously by finding creative solutions for our inbound freight which is still the biggest bottleneck when it comes to shipping. As a reminder, ocean shipping takes three times longer than what it used to before the pandemic. By exploring alternatives, we hope to shave off enough time to make back most if not all of the difference. We are hopeful these delays will ease as we get into the holidays. If not, we have alternative methods to move our cargo such as direct sailings, port transloading and even air freight. As Bird Buddies begin to flow from manufacturing, we will make weekly decisions on the method of movement. Our focus is to get you your Bird Buddy as quickly as it is physically and fiscally possible. We’re launching our tracking website in December and will provide specific fulfillment details as we start shipping units from our distribution centers. We have our shipping and distribution agreements in place and earlier this month, we visited one of our distribution warehouses in Indianapolis who use the latest in robot picking technology to provide efficiency and accuracy. We wanted to share this experience with you; take a look at our video:

Gift card

Back at Bird Buddy HQ, we have been really busy sorting and packing the gift cards to send to those of you who have requested them. These will be flying their way to you over the next couple of weeks so look out for them in your snail mail.

AI

Our AI testing and training continues as we seek to not only identify birds (as opposed to squirrels or other movement), but also bird species and whether a photograph is interesting or not. 350k images have been classified into species. In 56k of these, the bird’s position within the image has also been precisely determined using a bounding box. It is an exciting task and our AI is shaping up beautifully.

Award time!

We are really honored and delighted to have been awarded Honoree status by the Consumer Technology Association (the US Trade Association) in three categories for their CES 2022 awards:

  • Smart Home
  • Digital Imaging and Photography
  • Mobile and Software

We will find out at the CES show in Las Vegas at the start of January if we have been judged ‘Best in Innovation’ in any of those categories. Either way, this is great news for us all!

Bird Buddy news

Our other exciting news is that earlier this month, our founders, Franci, Žiga and Kyle actually met physically for the first time! Franci and Žiga travelled from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Chicago, Illinois, US where, with Kyle, they visited the distribution centers amongst other activities.

If you want to see what else we are up to, why not follow us on social media? Use the links here to see us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok.

As always, if you have any feedback for us, don’t hesitate to contact support@mybirdbuddy.com. Thank you so much for your continued support.

The Bird Buddy team

 

P.S. We can’t send an update without sharing our latest animations with you. We hope you like these as much as we do!