Case study

BBOXX: smart solar energy with IoT

We helped BBOXX deliver out of the box solar-power solutions with a low-cost monthly payment plan

About BBOXX

BBOXX provide their customers with a better quality of life through solar-powered energy systems that target hard to reach locations throughout Africa and the developing world.

Based in London, BBOXX design, manufactures, distributes and finances innovative plug and play solar systems, improving the lives of nearly 1 million people.

Challenge

For many people living in these areas, the typical monthly income didn’t reach much more than $200 per month — and with up-front costs usually needed to implement supplies such as kerosene, batteries and charging points, it was only people with a higher income, like farmers, who could afford such luxuries.

BBOXX saw the need for a low-cost subscription-based service, providing remotely located people the opportunity to have access to energy supply but also include ‘bolt-on’ accessories such as TV, radio or LED lights meaning families would be able to connect to the modern day world.

Solution

In seeking a quick-to-market and simple deployment solution, BBOXX were introduced to Wireless Logic, Europe’s leading IoT Platform Service provider and one of their Global SIM networks, Vodafone Global, to meet the requirement of having global connectivity across Sub-Saharan Africa.

By identifying the requirement for GPRS connectivity to the BBOXX service, combining a low data usage tariff (1 to 2mb per month) and with access to a defined ‘Rest of World’ Tier range of local Mobile Networks, we created a one-stop connectivity package. This enabled the ability to provision SIMS, observe data usage and set limit warnings on unusual activity, all delivered from our SIM Management Platform SIMPro and sent via an API onto BBOXX’ own SMART Solar Management platform.  Through this platform, it was possible to monitor real-time usage patterns, device performance including voltage, current, temperature and have full control of the solar power devices remotely, allowing for BBOXX’s direct team to turn them on and off remotely if needed.

Leading on the global deployment, Ollie Wallington, Business Development Manager for Wireless Logic explained the strategy in creating seamless cross-border connectivity: “Working with multiple countries and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), a global SIM with tailored Tiers of networks was the appropriate solution to the BBOXX brief. Global SIMs are suited to low data thresholds and with connectivity from the solar unit to the SMART platform limited to communication every four hours, the multi-purpose Vodafone Global proposition, layered with Wireless Logic’s ‘NetPro’ secure infrastructure, was perfectly suited.”

Outcome

Today, BBOXX’s solar energy solutions are being adopted region by region with Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda leading the way in a growing number of developing nations across East Africa. In each of these locations, BBOXX are setting up direct retail chains giving much-needed employment to over 150 people. The retail operation is core to the BBOXX offering, whilst an increasing number of distributors are opening doors in both Africa, South America and Asia. Common to all is the singular connectivity with one SIM accessing multiple networks delivering a reliable and resilient service with a single monthly cost. Data is transmitted two-way via GPRS with packets of data carrying critical information that ensures longevity of the energy provision.

With more and more remote locations to be added, BBOXX intend to incorporate SMS connectivity where network coverage remains limited to GSM, all being managed and integrated via the Wireless Logic API. And with the knowledge that through Wireless Logic, BBOXX can access further global SIM networks and local MNOs directly, the challenge of hard-to-reach connected areas is lightened. For today, the Wireless Logic fixed subscription enables the BBOXX solution to be highly competitive in a market where a matter of cents can mean the difference between mere survival and a better and more enriched life. BBOXX are genuinely improving the lives of people by placing into their hands manageable and affordable renewable energy.

If you’re interested in learning more about our SIM Connectivity services, more information can be found here  Alternatively, please get in touch with us directly.

The BBOXX SMART Platform is fundamental to the efficient operation of the device estate. Beyond planned maintenance, user behaviour/profiling and energy management, we were keen for both our direct team and our channel partners to have full visibility and management of the device’s connectivity. Consequently, the ability to provision SIMs, observe data usage and, importantly, set limit warnings on unusual activity, were all important to the operation. Wireless Logic’s SIM management platform ‘SIMPro’ was able to deliver all of our requirements through an API into our own SMART platform. And by developing unique profiles for each SIM deployed, the entire billing process for direct and channel was far simpler than originally imagined.

Ashley Grealish,
Engineering Manager, BBOX