African Clean Energy, whose mission is to provide off-grid household energy solutions to people in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, uses Device Magic mobile forms to reach their customers in remote areas, while simultaneously completing data collection and research efforts.
Three billion people worldwide still cook on open fire, requiring huge amounts of wood, charcoal and other biomass fuels. But these types of inefficient cooking methods have disastrous effects on health, resulting in nearly 4 million deaths each year, and lead to environmental degradation.
66% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa does not have modern energy. African Clean Energy (ACE) developed the ACE 1, a cookstove that produces virtually no smoke and can burn a variety of biomass fuels, as a solution to the energy access and indoor air pollution problem people in developing countries face.
With her team based in Lesotho, Uganda, and Cambodia, Judith Walker, who is based in Amsterdam as Director of Operations for ACE, didn’t have a fast way to get data and information back from them. Without having access to this data from her sales and manufacturing teams, Walker was unable to process or learn from it to find ways to improve operations.
Device Magic mobile forms ensured that all of the necessary information was being collected and sent back to Walker's office in real-time. “Being on site is vital for data collection, otherwise people make stuff up, or forget to ask a question,” Walker said. Walker even uses geo-tagging to see exactly where a question was answered.
ACE uses Device Magic to collect data on the baseline in which customers live. This data includes household size, where they are located, how much is being spent on energy, as well as how else money is spent.
Often research about these areas is limited or outdated. “We’re able to gather our own data now and learn from it, which is invaluable. We can manage data collection ourselves,” Walker said.
By using Device Magic instead of paper, the sales team is able to collect data and complete their sales process more efficiently than they did in the past. Sales forms are completed faster, more accurately, and don't run the risk of being lost on the road.
Another challenge was access to cell and Internet coverage. In the rural locations where ACE works, cell coverage is “spotty at best,” said Walker. “Being able to work offline and collect GPS locations is vital.”
Taking advantage of technology like mobile forms allows ACE to provide a higher quality product, while keeping the cost down for their customers and giving them the best possible solution available. "If you're able to apply the tech that's available you're able to help people so much more," Walker said.
About African Clean Energy:
African Clean Energy’s mission is to provide off-grid household energy solutions to people in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. African Clean Energy is the producer of the ACE 1 solar biomass energy system: an advanced cookstove which reduces smoke emissions to negligible levels, providing clean cooking with a range of biomass fuels as well as offering solar electricity for mobile phone charging and LED lighting. Founded in Lesotho by father and son team Stephen and Ruben Walker in 2011, the company now operates in Lesotho, Cambodia, Uganda and the Netherlands. Learn more at http://www.africancleanenergy.com/.