• Emerging Trends in Mobile-Enabled Utility Services January 25, 2016 Peter NdichuIntroduction At the end of 2014, the GSMA’s Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund invited organisations to apply for funding to trial or scale the use of mobile technology across the water, energy and sanitation sectors. This was the second phase of funding following successful support to 13 grantees in the water and energy sectors during the first phase of the Innovation Fund. Increased interest in leveraging mobile technologies within the developing world led to tremendous growth in our application pool, both in terms of absolute numbers and geographical and sectorial diversity. More Concept Notes in Phase 2 In Phase 2 we received 218 Concept Notes, reflecting a 30% growth compared with the earlier phase. The majority of organisations (77%) applied for the Seed Grant category to test early stage trials, 14% applied for Utility Partnership grants to foster partnerships between utility companies and innovators, and 9% applied for Market Validation grants to scale or replicate existing business models. Africa continues to dominate We received applications from 44 unique countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Africa continued to dominate as the proposed region of implementation with 58% of organisations proposing to implement in the continent. India, Kenya and Tanzania were the most dominant markets with more than 20 unique concept notes received from each of these countries. The West African region demonstrated substantial growth in the number of organisations applying to the Fund. The total number of organisations applying from Nigeria and Ghana grew from 9 to 22 between Phase 1 and Phase 2 signifying the growing interest in leveraging mobile technology in ...
  • Lessons learned from our grantees: Mobisol January 19, 2016 Jenny CasswellCase Study 3: Mobisol – Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) Solar for Entrepreneurs in Rwanda  In 2013, we launched the M4D Utilities Innovation Fund (formerly MECS) to test and scale the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy and water services. With the support of the UK Government, GBP 2.4 million in Seed and Market Validation grants was awarded to 13 organisations in 11 countries across Africa and Asia. Today we continue our Case Study series on lessons learned from these 13 projects. A core output of the Innovation Fund is the lessons and evidence base developed throughout the grant timeline that can inform ecosystem players, such as commercial benefits to mobile operators, and social and economic impacts for the underserved. By making these lessons public, we intend to accelerate scaling and sector growth. Since the inception of these grants, we have already seen significant expansion and innovation to mobile-enabled products and services for water and energy delivery as well as sanitation, and the business models that support them. The third Case Study in our series focuses on Mobisol, a Berlin based company which launched its solar pay-as-you-go (PAYG) business in Tanzania in 2012. Mobisol offers off-grid customers in emerging markets pre-paid solar home systems paid through a 36-month loan term, including customer support and maintenance. This PAYG model is enabled by mobile payments and GSM based machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity in the solar unit to monitor system usage and performance while providing Mobisol remote control. In December 2013, GSMA awarded Mobisol a GBP 228,000 Market Validation grant to replicate its innovative mobile-enabled energy business ...
  • Lessons learned from our grantees: NextDrop January 14, 2016 Caroline SheldonCase Study 2: NextDrop – Providing water timing solutions in Bangalore  In 2013, we launched the M4D Utilities Innovation Fund (formerly MECs) to test and scale the use of mobile to improve or increase access to energy and water services. With the support of the UK Government, GBP 2.4 million in Seed and Market Validation grants was awarded to 13 organisations in 11 countries across Africa and Asia. Today we continue our Case Studies series on lessons learned from these 13 projects. A core output of the Innovation Fund is the lessons and evidence base developed throughout the grant timeline that can inform players in the ecosystem, in order to grow and scale the sector. Mobile-enabled products and services for water and energy delivery, and the business models that support them, have developed significantly since we started this journey. It is our intention that by making these lessons public we will continue to accelerate the sector. The second case study in our series focuses on NextDrop, a for-profit enterprise with a social mission based in Bangalore. Due to the scarcity of water, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is forced to ration supply such that some areas receive water only a few hours each week. NextDrop designed a Water Information System to track, monitor and validate the actual water distribution timings, frequency and duration in real time. In January 2014, NextDrop was awarded a GBP 141,250 Seed grant to deploy its innovative service to 40% of Bangalore, a city of 8 million residents in association with the BWSSB. The key objectives were ...
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