26 May, 2022

flespi pricing simplification: in favor of fair play

We tried to add even more transparency, charge for key items only, and adjust limits to align with the customer demands.

We initially presented flespi to the public five years ago at CEBIT in Hannover, Germany. Now, in May 2022 we are proud to announce that we have just celebrated our 200th client. It took us four years to reach the first 100 clients and just one year to connect another 100. It's really hard to predict when we will double our volume of commercial contracts again (due to a war in Ukraine followed by major economic crises all over the world) but we stay optimistic and target the beginning of 2024 with this goal.

feeling optimistic in the hard times

Now having a large customer base we can do some classification and clearly distinguish them based on business type, size, and features they use in flespi.

Customers classification

Here’s how we classify customers by business type:

  • Telematics platform developers — a lot of our clients develop telematics platforms in-house and sell services to their users, which are usually direct consumers of telematics service. Some of them approached flespi on the initial stage, when their software was just designed. But the majority embedded flespi in their software afterwards, mostly our telematics hub service for passing device messages in and controlling devices via API. Only a limited number, usually those who developed or redesigned the platform under our supervision, relies on flespi to store data and process it with analytics. Flespi price tag here is around €0.03-0.50 per device monthly.

  • Various software services and platforms where telematics is used as an additional data layer for primary products. For example, in ERPs or agricultural services. These clients are selling vertical solutions where telematics is a valuable addon but not a primary product. Here we see even more involvement in complex flespi features as most of the time they integrate telematics into their products with our assistance and thus outsourcing more data processing to us. Flespi price tag here is around €0.05-0.70 per device monthly.

  • Scooter and car sharing services. Despite a lot of competition among turnkey solutions, we still see a lot of custom-build micro mobility services. Compared with the standard price of $15/month per scooter, flespi here is a good and cheap choice with an average price range of €0.10-0.20 per scooter and a lot of headache mitigated.

  • Various marketplace services that are using flespi only to simplify data reception from multiple sources. They are using flespi as a cheap and reliable way to embed data from telematics platforms into their own product. Flespi price tag here is around €0.01/month per device or below.

  • Telematics platform resellers that use a branded platform (e.g. Wialon, GPSWOX, Traccar) and employ flespi to increase transparency and debug issues. Flespi price tag here is around €0.03-0.20 per device monthly.

All of these business types can use flespi in totally different ways. Here we talk about the three layers of flespi usage (channels, devices, and analytics) that you can stack up to get the most out of our platform. The majority of our users are still mostly on layers 1 and 2. At the same time our development efforts are mostly focused on layers 2 and 3 — including analytics and various solutions of complex tasks. Each next stage doubles or triples the cost per device but at the same time opens vast opportunities for a variety of telematics use cases. Here are some flespi users sharing their experience in 2019 at the Gurtam Telematics Conference. One of these speakers developed this solution for the construction industry. The migration of data pre-calculation to flespi analytics saved him thousands of dollars a month previously paid to AWS for computational power with 100x quicker update time.

Pricing plans

Сlassification of businesses by size was initially formalized at the end of 2021, when we introduced three commercial plans instead of one — Start, Enterprise, and Ultimate. They are designed to serve different needs and processes different volumes of data based on the size of fleet operating through flespi:

  • Start is targeted at those who operate a fleet of up to 10,000 telematics devices.

  • Enterprise is targeted at those who operate a fleet of up to 100,000 telematics devices. This plan also includes development and operation of private channels, plugins, and stream protocols. So for those who either operate a large number of devices or require special efforts from our side.

  • Ultimate users are a rare breed — currently we have only one that operates almost 200,000 devices. They initially designed their solution with flespi in mind, they utilize most of available flespi functionality, and they feel totally comfortable on that level. We recommend switching from Enterprise to Ultimate upon reaching a 100,000 devices threshold.

Most of our clients are Start-level businesses with no more than a few thousands devices in flespi. They mostly use flespi as a simple in-and-out hub for seamless device-to-platform communication and benefit from our protocols parsing capabilities. We want to promote our more advanced features and help our clients grow not only in volumes, but also in the efficiency of their solution by helping them incorporate flespi’s technological benefits.

What we did is simplified our pricing model and removed the billing for rarely used items like extra MQTT sessions, extra access tokens, extra subaccounts, and even extra calculators, at the same time including a sufficient amount of them in each plan.

New pricing clarification

Every pricing plan in flespi now consists of the following parts:

  • Extendable base items (with a green lock)

  • Fixed-number items (with a red lock)

We charge more than the specified pricing plan fee only when the number of base items included in the given plan is exceeded:

  • starting from the 4th channel

  • starting from the 3rd plugin

  • starting from the 4th stream

  • starting from 1001st device

  • starting from the 1001st device assigned to calculators

  • starting from the 2nd GB

  • starting from 101st SMS.

The price of all positions as well as included quantity remained the same as before. We simply removed additional rarely used positions to motivate our clients to use as many flespi features as possible.

We have also adjusted some restrictions based on our analysis of customer experience. In particular, for the Start plan we reduced the maximum number of single channel connections to 5,000 and a maximum number of channel messages per minute to 20,000 to avoid excessive use of channels in the Start package beyond recommended volumes.

Updated tariffs (pdf) and restrictions (pdf) are published on May 26, 2022 and according to clause 19 of the flespi contract will be effective starting from Monday, June 27, 2022. 

Since the actual price for flespi services for our clients will be lower, we will introduce these changes into the billing and stop charging tokens, calculators, subaccounts, etc. already in June.

With these changes we hope more flespi customers will start using our advanced features (since they are available in all plans and are not charged for) in their applications and together we will benefit from improved growth rate. The world is moving towards simplicity and we, in flespi, want to follow this trend.

P.S. More for less

Do you know that flespi pricing hasn’t changed much in the course of the five years of its existence? What has drastically changed though is the volume of services and features included in this price.

Back in 2017 we started with the mere channels and offered three of them for €100 (and we only had a handful of protocols supported).

Now, in 2022, for the same starting price of €100 you still get these three channels (but with 100+ protocols support) and a whole bunch of valuable functionality atop — devices with long-term storage, dedicated streams to third-party platforms, analytics engine, plugins for data enrichment, access via MQTT, and so much more. 

Caveat: you may wonder why the section name says “more for less” not “more for the same price”. Well because we have never corrected our price for inflation and €100 now has less value than €100 five year ago (~€91).