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Production Updates

Proud to be Powered by Raspberry Pi

Did you know? Nest Box Live uses Raspberry Pi’s energy-efficient technology! Every one of our AI-Powered Bird House and Nest Box Camera systems uses Raspberry Pi’s tiny single-board computers.

We thought you might want to learn a little more about Raspberry Pi and what other devices use these boards. You might be surprised how popular they are! 

Nest Box Live Raspberry Pi Logo

Raspberry Pi boards are small but powerful, and they really don’t use too much energy, which made them the perfect choice when we were developing our AI-Powered Bird House and Nest Box Camera

With Nest Box Live, what you get is a nest box with an AI-Powered camera system that detects different bird species, sends notifications to your smartphone, and live streams the birds in your nest box to social media.

Our 8-megapixel 1080p HD image sensor captures birds in incredible detail, and AI recognition tells you which birds are visiting. This is all brought together by Raspberry Pi.

Nest Box Live Blog Product Top

Raspberry Pi enables all kinds of IoT devices…

There are lots of smart home appliances, security systems and smart tools and gadgets that use Raspberry Pi.The technology is perfect for internet-of-things (IoT) devices that connect to the net and use cameras or sensors to share information.

It was originally developed as a low-cost alternative to mainstream electronics like smartphones and tablets and has really taken off as a component for smart and robotic devices.

The ability to easily add sensors, motors, batteries, or cameras makes Raspberry Pi perfect for creating wildlife, weather, and environmental monitoring devices

UK Met Office Weather Observation Station

Take a look at how the UK Government’s Met Office uses Raspberry Pi to collect weather observations more efficiently.

Met Office Raspberry Pi

RaspberryShake Seismograph

What about RaspberryShake’s professional-grade seismograph and infrasound monitors?

Raspberry Shake

Bandai Namco Jukebox O Rama

There’s also Bandai Namco’s nostalgic Jukebox O Rama home musical and gaming experience.

Jukebox O Rama

One of the coolest things about Raspberry Pi is how much it’s used as a learning tool by educators, kids at home, and hobbyists and amateur builders because you can do so much with it.

You can literally build your favorite gadgets at home without them costing a fortune! 

To see how we use Raspberry Pi, learn more about the features of Nest Box Live, from the AI and powerful camera to the sensors and notifications that tell our customers EVERYTHING that happens in their nest boxes!

Why not checkout the list of ‘Powered by Raspberry Pi’ products on the Raspberry Pi website?

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Production Updates

7 Days Until Launch, Price Announced and more!

Introduction

First of all, I’d like to thank the 300 plus people who are currently following the pre-launch page on Kickstarter. If you are not already signed up for the pre-launch page, please follow this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nestboxlive/nest-box-live-smart-nest-box-and-app. You will be presented with a button ‘Notify me on launch’ where you can sign up and be emailed when the project goes live.

It’s only seven days until the Crowdfunding campaign launches via Kickstarter. This critical milestone encompasses many years of research and development to get to this stage. The past three years have been spent designing hardware, writing software and conducting extensive testing of the whole system with a small number of nest box partners on the Facebook page. If you have been following the page, you may know that I regularly host live streams from the existing boxes on the Nest Box Live network.

Most of the boxes are currently located around the UK, with some in northern Europe, the USA, Canada, and South Africa. With the crowdfunding campaign’s launch, the plan extends this even further worldwide.

Nest Box Live Kickstarter

How much does it cost?

This is the most common question I get asked, and until now, I have been unable to offer a solid response. Before diving into the numbers, it’s worth mentioning a few points about where the Nest Box Live project is and ultimately managing your expectations regarding price.

In e-commerce, retailers often have a race to get prices as low as possible to capture business. When new products enter the market, they are often backed by big bank loans, investors or hedge funds. Unfortunately, being a single person tech start-up, none of these options is available to me, and I don’t benefit from economies of scale.

I believe that honesty and clarity are the best policy as with anything I do. I am always upfront about how much things cost and the benefits and constraints to our nest box partners.

The introductory price offered exclusively to backers on Kickstarter will be £220/€265/$290. This is a limited time offer for the campaign’s duration, and if I decide to do another production run in the future, I’m almost certain the cost will increase.

Most people will probably look at this and think it’s too expensive. However, if you look at the most costly nest box camera currently on the market, it sits at around the £190/€230/$260 price mark. Considering that these cameras are often low quality, have no integration app and don’t send you notifications each time a bird visits, paying an extra £30 for a system that does so much more might make more sense. 

The breakdown of the production costs for each nest box system is as follows (this is what it costs me to manufacture the whole system):

  • Wooden nest box £40
  • Components and manufacture – £90
  • Cables and accessories – £11
  • Packaging – £5
  • Kickstarter fees – £22
  • Taxes – £30
  • 10% margin of error – £22

Why am I not making any profit from selling the nest boxes?

One of the founding aims of the Nest Box Live project has been to create a worldwide network of connected smart nest boxes. Existing nest box owners have benefited from many exciting features that the technology offers, and in all reports, people have been delighted.

To make this affordable, one of the things that I do is live-stream some of the nest boxes on my Facebook and YouTube channels. These cameras have provided millions of people with much-needed joy and happiness at difficult times in recent times. We already know the benefits that nature has on mental health and wellbeing.

During the live streams, viewers send in donations and adverts are shown, for which I receive a small percentage of the revenue.

A lot of the money goes back into developing the project and supporting small wildlife charities and conservation projects. Everyone wins!

The actual cost of the nest box and all the technology inside is far greater than what is being offered on Kickstarter. Most businesses would estimate to make a 50% profit on their products. This would take the price of Nest Box Live over £440, which is not affordable.

This is the only way that the business model works, and it will form part of the legal terms of conditions of using the service. Almost everyone has been more than happy for me to share the live streams of their nest boxes with my 450+ thousand followers on Facebook. It has been an engaging and rewarding experience for users as they can get involved in the action through the live chat during broadcasts. If live-streaming does not sit comfortably with you, this project might not be for you.

As a user, you will still have exclusive access to your nest box live feed via the app, amongst other breakthrough features outlined on the website.

The bigger picture

One aspect of the technology not previously mentioned is the amount of data that the nest box collects. Information such as types of birds are visiting, temperature, air pollution and much more. At some point in the future, the aim is to share this with research organisations to help better understand species and what we can do to support them. By becoming part of Nest Box Live, you will also be helping conservation efforts.

If there are any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below, and I would be more than happy to answer them.

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Production Updates

How Shipping will Work

The countdown is on, with only 16 days until we launch on Kickstarter. I know it’s not a very exciting topic, but it’s essential to deal with some of the particulars around how shipping will work for backers of the crowdfunding campaign.

If you do not already know how crowdfunding works, please take a moment to read my blog post on this, as it explains in detail: https://nestboxlive.com/crowdfunding-campaign-date-announced/

Sign up for the Kickstarter pre-launch page here

After backing the Kickstarter, you are essentially securing yourself a pre-order for the product before it is manufactured. For the reasons I explain below, delivery to backers won’t be until January 2023. This allows enough time for production to be set up and overcome any hurdles along the way. Although this process has been thought through in fine detail, there will undoubtedly be some unforeseen challenges along the way, which is why I am extra cautious with the delivery date. There is every possibility that delivery may be sooner if things go better than according to plan. But having been on this journey for many years, I know that this is often not the case.

The regions that Nest Box Live will be available to on Kickstarter will be:

    • United Kingdom 
    • Europe & the EU
    • USA & Canada
    • Australis and New Zealand
    • South Africa
    • Asia (Selected regions only)

There will be 20 units available for each region, except for the UK and Asia, where there will only be 10. The reason for a limited production run is as follows: Firstly, this is my first attempt at launching a product, and I don’t want to overwhelm myself and get things wrong. I have seen many product launches that start too big and, as a result, are unable to fulfil orders which leave customers feeling disgruntled and ultimately not having any faith in the product. Secondly, securing a batch of microchips is a challenge due to global supply shortages. Thirdly, I am looking to place nest boxes in locations outside of the UK, so that I can live stream a range of birds worldwide to social media channels.

If your region is not listed above, this is most likely because the import duty and local sales tax are too high and make the product unaffordable. If you believe I have got this wrong for your region and want to back the Kickstarter project, please drop me an email at jamie@nestboxlive.com with the subject line ‘Kickstarter Shipping’, and I will get back to you.

Shipping costs are not included, these will be charged if you choose to back the campaign. I estimate these costs to be £20-£30 for the UK and Europe and up to £55 for regions outside these areas.

As I am only a small business so won’t be collecting taxes at the point of sale. This shall be the buyer’s responsibility. The courier usually collects these before delivery to customers. I have produced a blog post for guidance that outlines these costs: https://nestboxlive.com/import-taxes/. Please bear this in mind before backing the project.

If you have any questions about this, please post a comment below.

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Production Updates

Import Taxes and Local Sales Tax Per Country

For the benefit of backers of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, I have compiled a list of countries and their taxes for goods being imported. Nest boxes sold through Kickstarter won’t be charged sales tax, so these will be collected at the point of delivery and is the responsibility of the buyer.

UK

  • None

USA/CA

  • USA No import tax and no local sales tax as goods do not exceed the minimum threshold of $800
  • CA No import tax due to trade deal between UK and CA. All imports subject to 5% sales tax

Europe (Non-EU)

Non-eu but part of Schengan

  • Switzerland  Import tax of 1% and local sales tax of 7.70%
  • Liechtenstein Import tax of 1% and local sales tax of 8%
  • Norway No import tax and local sales tax of 25%
  • Iceland Import tax of 8% and local sales tax of 24%

EU

  • Import tax of 1% and local VAT rate between 19-22% depending on the country

South Africa

  • No Import Tax but a local sales tax of 15%

Australia & New Zealand

  • No import taxes or local sales tax

Asia

  • Singapore No import tax but 8% local sales tax
  • Indonesia Import tax of 15% and no local sales tax
  • Philippines Import tax of 10% and local sales tax of 12%
  • Thailand Import tax of 10% and local sales tax of 7%
  • Malaysia No import tax but 10% local sales tax

If your country is not listed above, please check this website: https://www.easyship.com/en-gb/duties-and-taxes-calculator/. Select ‘shipment origin’ as the United Kingdom and the ‘shipment destination’ as your own country. Put the ‘item selling price’ as 200 USD, although this won’t be the sales price for the nest boxes.

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Production Updates

200 Followers on Pre-Launch Page

It’s been a whole month since launching the Kickstarter prelaunch page, and I am delighted to announce that it has reached 200 followers. These people like yourself have been following this project for many months and are keen to get their hands on one of our smart nest boxes and app, so thank you.

Follow this link to the Kickstarter pre-launch page…

If you are reading this post, you have probably clicked through from the email newsletter and are keen to find out more information about the product, such as price, availability etc. Many people have been asking about the price. However, I can still not publish this just yet for several reasons. One of the main ones is that discussions are still ongoing with several suppliers regarding parts and manufacturing. I want to make this as affordable as possible. Bear in mind that this is a first-generation product, so I don’t have the benefits of economies of scale to purchase components in bulk and at a discounted price. There is also a global microchip shortage affecting prices and availability, which has a knock-on effect. I understand peoples’ frustration, but I would kindly ask for your patience as I am working as hard as I can behind the scenes.

As I have mentioned previously, there will only be 100 units available for the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, and this is for a simple reason. I don’t have the means to produce more than this amount on my own.

As this project has been growing, I am keen to take one step at a time and not to overwhelm myself. If you remember, the ambition to create a worldwide network of nest boxes started three years ago with a single nest box on the back of my house. Today, there are 30 of my nest boxes located around the world with the aim to add 100 more, should the crowdfunding campaign be a success.

Several posts have circulated on social media suggesting that what I am doing is a scam and the product’s features are not what they seem. These claims are not valid. Everything I have demonstrated on the website, blog posts, and Kickstarter is genuine. I have not posted pictures or videos that mislead you about what my technology can do. This combines three years of hard work developing everything from the smartphone app to the AI software that runs on the nest box to recognise birds.

If you are still unsure, please follow this link to see a full demonstration video of the product. I was required to submit this, along with other documentation, to get approved on the Kickstarter website.

One of the problems I foresee happening in the future is the possibility of scammers impersonating my product and marketing it to the same group of people who are backing my project. I recall a bird feeder that launched on Kickstarter earlier last year, subject to scams. This was not the fault of the company launching the bird feeder. They had an excellent product, but scammers copied the design and made poor quality versions that did not function. These imitations were then marketed to people at a significantly lower price, and ultimately, the products were either not delivered or arrived and did not work.

So what can I do to prevent this from happening to me? Well, nothing at this stage. Start-up companies such as myself, and the one mentioned above, don’t have the resources to mount legal challenges to stop scammers in their tracks, and they know this! The best weapon in our arsenal is information. Making people aware to only follow legitimate information sources such as official websites and social media channels. Ultimately, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The best I can do is learn from others and make you aware of what might be around the corner, although there have not been any signs of this to date.

Should this happen in the future, I shall refer back to this blog post.

Once again, thank you for your continued support of this project.

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Production Updates

Kickstarter Pre Launch Page is Live!

Well, it’s been quite a feat to get to this stage, but I am delighted to announce that the Kickstarter pre-launch page is now live. This means that you can register and be notified when the project launches in April.

Follow this link to the Kickstarter pre-launch page

I thought it would be worthwhile explaining how I foresee the crowdfunding campaign running. In my previous blog posts, I explained the reasons for choosing this funding route as it will enable me to set up production for 100 units.

The Kickstarter campaign will have a funding goal (published in due course). This is the total amount of money required to set up an initial production run. People who back the project, known as ‘Backers’, commit to funding the project in return to be one of the first to receive the product. The amount that each Backer will have to pay for the product will be revealed when the campaign launches (I have yet to finalise these costs). There will be an additional postage charge, depending on where you live in the world, and this will be made clear. To give you an idea, items will be dispatched from the UK so expect the postage charges to increase the further away you get.

The funding goal is central to the campaign. Only when, and if, the funding goal is reached is the moment when Backers credit cards are charged. This is worth noting because no money is taken from Backer’s accounts if the funding goal is not met.

As this is only an initial production run of 100 units, there will be a limed number available in each geographical region worldwide. So why have I decided to do this? One of the greatest joys I have had during the pandemic (if there can be any) is live streaming the incredible journey of birds nesting and bringing new life into the world. These live streams on my social media channels provided millions of people with so much happiness and joy at such difficult times. Being based in the UK, one of the limiting factors is that breeding only happens once a year around April/May. This means that I can only provide live content for this brief period. My ambition is to have more nest boxes located around the world to provide live streams all year round

As well as being part of this exclusive club of nest watchers, you will be able to view other nest cameras on the Nest Box Live network via the app. This is going to truly revolutionise how we watch birds nesting and I can’t wait for you to become part of it.

In the meantime, make sure that you follow this link to the Kickstarter pre-launch page and click “Notify me on launch”.

In my next blog post, I hope to being you more details about the pricing structure.

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Production Updates

Full Product Demonstration Video

As part of Kickstarter’s strict approval process, I was required to submit a full demonstration video showing the app and nest box working together. I am delighted to be sharing this with you today.

Whilst it’s not a big production video with moving camera shots and fading lights, it does show the technology working in its entirety. I think it’s important to remember that I am working on this project single-handedly and don’t have the resources to put together a fully produced video. However, I am committed to the aim of this project which is to create a worldwide network of connected nest box cameras for everyone to watch and enjoy.

The video demonstrates a range of unique features that I have developed specifically for this project, such as AI image recognition to identify Birds, push notifications to your smartphone and the ability to watch other nest boxes on the Nest Box Live network.

Usually, when tech products are released, there is no option for them to be updated, and you are stuck with the features advertised at the point of sale. However, the development of Nest Box Live is an ongoing process and something that I’m always improving on. For example, the software running on the nest box is designed to receive updates when I release them automatically. These updates may include routine bug fixes and additional patches that bring increased functionality to the app and the community of nest boxes as a whole.

As a user, you won’t see any of this happening but you can be assured that I am continually working on this in the background. You will see changes in app updates via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (and there have been some released already for existing nest box owners). 

Nest box software updates are essential because in order to bring new functionality to the app, usually, the nest box has to do something new too. Developing these features is often a lengthy process and involves writing hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of lines of code!

What you also don’t see is the worldwide cloud infrastructure I have built to enable all of this to happen. As I have mentioned previously, this is not just a nest box camera, but rather it’s part of a bigger network and community of nest box watchers.

This project is part of a bigger vision of how I foresee us observing nature in the future, and I would love you to come on this journey with me.

I’d very much welcome suggestions in the comments section below for features or functionality you’d like to see.

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Production Updates

Crowdfunding campaign date announced

Thanks

Thank you for being so patient, as I know many of you have signed up to the mailing list without an update in a long time. Over the past twelve months, it’s been challenging to develop a new product from the ground up. However, I am now in a position to announce that the Crowdfunding campaign’s launch date is set for April 2022.

Many of you may not be familiar with Crowdfunding or how it works, so I shall do my best to explain my reasons for adopting this approach. Crowdfunding enables small businesses or individuals to raise money from investors to launch their products. This is becoming one of the more common approaches for tech start-ups. Launching a new product often requires large bank loans or capital raised from private investors.

Being a single person running a startup business, these two options are not readily available to me, so I am reaching out to the community of like-minded nature lovers to get this product off the ground.

The aim of the project has always been to create a worldwide network of connected nest boxes that we all can enjoy, learn and share whilst at the same time gathering essential conservation information about bird breeding. This has required a different approach to how traditional nest box cameras operate.

Typically most nest box cameras are simple devices that plug into the back of a television unit for casual viewing. This is fine for the most part however, there is no way of knowing when the birds are visiting or what species are using the nest box. Nest Box Live aims to change this with a revolutionary new internet-connected ‘smart’ nest box. The new technology I have developed comes with a smartphone app that sends a notification each time a bird visits. It uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to identify what species are visiting. You can also view videos each time a bird visits, so you will never miss any activity that happens. The app integrates with social media, meaning that you can live stream your nest box to friends and family on Facebook. The nest box also has intelligent sensors that track, in real-time, temperature, humidity and weather data which could provide researchers with essential information in the future.

Nothing like this has been attempted before!

Current Progress

Where is the project up to right now?

The nest box hardware is in the final prototyping stages. There are still some minor changes needed to ensure that the technology will run smoothly. The first version of the app (which will be available on iOS and Android) is being tested by a handful of existing Nest Box Live owners.

What is the plan for the next stage of the project?

The plan is to launch the Crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in late April 2022 to raise funds to produce 100 units. If the funding target is met, I will have the capital to put these units into production and deliver them to backers at the end of 2022.

Challenges moving forward…

One of the most significant challenges holding back production is the global shortage of computer microchips caused by recent events. Due to the complexity of the hardware design, the system would not function without them. I have attempted to mitigate this by placing pre-orders for out of stock components; however, there is a wait time of at least 6-months for some of them, and even then, there is no guarantee that they will be delivered on time. I shall be monitoring this closely. Once available, I estimate production should take between three to six months, bringing us to the estimated delivery time for initial backers of the crowdfunding campaign.

Why only 100 units?

The aim at this stage is to create an exclusive club of nest-watching individuals around the world. The crowdfunding campaign will have a limited number of nest boxes available for each region, and essentially the individuals who purchase them will become the representatives for that region. I regularly live stream nest boxes from the existing network on the Facebook page, which currently has over 430 thousand followers. I want to ensure that live content is available for followers all year round.

How much is it going to cost?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked, and unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to that question yet. I am still in negotiations with suppliers and manufacturers. I won’t be able to update you further until I conclude those discussions. Please remember this is a premium product, so manage your expectations on the price accordingly.

In the coming weeks, I shall be sending out regular emails and messages on social media informing you about more of this product’s features and demonstration videos.

Once again, thank you for your patience and for taking an interest in this project.

All the very best,

Jamie