Satellite connectivity company Swarm’s new product will allow anyone to create a messaging or Internet of Things (IoT) device, whether that be a hiker looking to stay connected off the grid or a hobbyist wanting to track the weather.

The Swarm Evaluation Kit is an all-in-one product that includes a Swarm Tile, the company’s flagship modem device, a VHF antenna, a small solar panel, a tripod, a Feather S2 development board, and an OLED from Adafruit. The entire kit comes in at less than 6 pounds and costs $499. The package may sound intimidatingly technical, but Swarm CEO Sara Spangelo explained to TechCrunch that it was designed to be user-friendly, from the most novice consumer all the way through to more advanced users.

consumers and tinkerer

It “was super intentional to call it an evaluation kit because it’s not a finished product,” Spangler explained. “It serves two different kinds of groups. The first group is people who want to do messaging anywhere that they are on the planet for a meager cost. … The second group of people will be the tinkerers and the hobbyists and educational folks.”

This is the second consumer product for Swarm — it went commercially live with its flagship Swarm Tile earlier this year. The Swarm Tile is a vital part of the company’s ecosystem, which includes a few different components: the Tile, a kind of modem that can be embedded in other things and what the customer interfaces with; the satellite network; and a ground station network, which is how the company downlinks data. The Tile is designed for maximum compatibility, so Swarm serves customers across shipping, logistics, and agriculture sectors.

“One of the cool things about Swarm is that we’re infrastructure,” she said. “We’re like cellphone towers, so anyone can use us across any vertical.” Some of the use cases she highlighted included customers using Tile in soil moisture sensors or asset tracking in the trucking industry.

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