Plume, a pioneer in the world of adaptive WiFi routers, is shifting its business model from one-time purchases for a mesh router to routers available via subscription. According to The Verge, the new subscription service, called Plume Adaptive WiFi, will cost $60 a year, or $200 for a lifetime subscription, plus the cost of the Pods needed to access the WiFi.
With a subscription, subscribers will receive continuous, adaptive WiFi for as long as they subscribe, along with deep discounts on Plume Pods and warranties, parental controls, speed tests, access to HomePass and service management. The Verge says existing owners of Plume Pods will be grandfathered in and not subject to the subscription.
‘Our intent, our hope, is to make the decision a no-brainer,’ said Plume CEO Fahri Diner in a call with The Verge. ‘If the customer doesn’t want to renew, it won’t be because of the price. They will be unhappy for us for one reason or another.’
To use Plume Adaptive WiFi, customers have to purchase Plume products which include the new SuperPod, a $99 tri-band router, available for ordering on June 15. Plume’s standard Pods start at $69 for an add-on, $179 for a three pack or $329 for a six pack. With a subscription, however, the three-pack is priced at just $39.
What exactly is Plume WiFi? According to Plume’s website, Plume Pods work together to distribute throughout the home, whether it is a two-bedroom apartment or a five-bedroom mansion. Users buy the first Pod and plug it into their modem via ethernet cable. Then they add Pods to other rooms of their home where they need good WiFi.
What seems to be unique about Plume is that the WiFi adapts to a subscriber’s particular usage in a matter of days. When it senses an increase in network activity, Plume Adaptive WiFi optimizes the connections between the Pods in real time to meet a subscriber’s bandwidth needs for active devices at a given time. Plume also has apps for iOS and Android to track speed and manage usage.
Plume also has a feature called HomePass, which allows subscribers to set up individual WiFi passwords and permissions for each guest. Through HomePass, a subscriber can allow Guest A access for a set period of time and assign which devices the guest can access. Plume says this system is more secure than creating one guest password that every home visitor uses.
Plume launched in late 2016 and has garnered interested from big name companies. Last summer Plume announced it had secured an additional $37.5 million in funding from Comcast Cable, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation and Presidio Ventures. This round of funding brought the total raised to more than $63 million, apparently enough to rethink their business model and produce new products.
Part of the subscription economy is fueled by companies like Plume that are finding ways to create more value for their customers, and in doing so, developing new revenue streams to ensure their longevity. Plume has developed a product that customers want, and they’ve found a way to keep a steady flow of cash coming in. Provided customers stay for the long-term and retention is high, the subscription model could give Plume some long-term sustainability.
Is there a market for converting routers, which are typically a one-time purchase, into subscription services? At $60 a year, we think so. This is an affordable cost, and good WiFi is priceless. We’d probably go for the lifetime subscription of $200, which will pay for itself in a little over three years.