mDash introduction

mDash is a framework for building smart products. It focuses on startups and medium businesses that want to develop and sell their products, spending as little money and time as possible. A high level list of features include:

mDash's focus: small and medium businesses

Our customers are primarily small and medium businesses, very often small startups. If, dear reader, you're in this category, or you're and IoT enthusiast who's thinking about starting a business by developing and selling an IoT product - then mdash.net is probably for you. Read on.

Most of our customers' products are focusing on automation, like: smart lights, smart plugs, smart plants, etc. Typically, a company creates a physical device, sells it to the end-customers, and provides a mobile app for device setup and control. After a sale, a company has management access to the device fleet, with ability to update devices, etc.

General observations on IoT product development

Here is the summary of our observations:

  1. The development of the whole product could be divided into several pieces:
    • Device hardware development and design.
    • Device firmware development.
    • Cloud backend functionality for device management.
    • Cloud backend functionality for the end-user.
    • End-user interface as a mobile app or web app.
  2. Usually, a company does not have expertise in all areas. They do what they can, and outsource the rest.
  3. Ideally, a company concentrates only on one task from the list, and that is the very first task: device hardware development. Hardware is hard. Making it right takes a lot of effort.
  4. Often a company has in-house expertise in backend development and falls into a DIY trap: they decide to use a "big" cloud service like AWS IoT or Azure, and develop all cloud infrastructure in-house. The task seems easy at first, but down the line drains a lot of resources. Each sub-task, like device management/OTA, device control, identity management - is a difficult task worth a business on its own.

Our offer

Thus we tailored mDash to solve all tasks except the first one (hardware development). We made it so a company can concentrate on the physical product and launch it as fast as possible, at a minimum price. For the rest of the tasks, we provide a solution:

  • Device firmware development. We offer mDash library that implements secure MQTT cloud communication, reconnection, initial device provisioning (WiFi and cloud setup), and remote control. We provide example firmwares for ESP-IDF and Arduino IDE.
  • Cloud backend functionality for device management. Out of the box, mDash gives you remote control and OTA (firmware over-the-air updates).
  • Cloud backend functionality for the end-user. We offer a secure key management mechanism that greatly simplifies customer management.
  • End-user interface. We provide a reference PWA mobile app. You can get a working mobile app with device provisioning and control in minutes. You can fully customise it, and serve under your domain.

The development of the product could be done for free. When a product is ready for launch, the typical volumes are in hundreds, and a price to pay is $49 / month - see the pricing page.

Ready to start? Follow the Smart Light reference project.