Case Study: eWaterPAY
Eseye’s technology connects industrial, vending, banking and smart city customers globally, but how well does it work in practice? Well enough for even the most challenging environments and for eWaterPAY and Eseye to win the Global Mobile Awards 2018 for the Outstanding Mobile Contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Eseye has enabled entrepreneurs to deliver a new business model for the provision of freshwater to remote villages in developing countries. The business problem lies in remote villages, where there is no clean water supply and children have to walk to the local bottling plant to get water. Then they carry it home in plastic cans on their heads. All of which means the kids’ schooling is interrupted because they’re too busy carrying water.
Companies and NGOs have been putting taps into remote villages as, although there may not be springs or wells, often there are aquifers beneath the villages in Africa. There’s water available and, using grants, engineers can put in a tap. This will work for a while, says Eseye’s CEO, Nick Earle, but if there’s ever a problem and the pump or tap needs maintenance there’s no money to pay.
Here’s the business model. There’s a small plastic disk equipped with RFID tag. You put a small amount of money on the disk by holding it against your mobile phone – African network operators lead the world in providing mobile money and payment services. Tap users touch the RFID tag against the water charging unit for a small affordable fee and water is dispensed.
The children can go to school, and the revenue enables the tap to be continuously maintained. Because it is connected to the cellular network, the tap use is monitored, and if there is a failure a locally employed engineer can be sent.
Eseye created the APIs. From the AWS portal eWaterPAY can see if the taps are working or not. They train a network of engineers who can repair all the taps in the surrounding area. They alert them about any failure and they can be paid for making the repair. Micro payments are funding water distribution and helping children go to school. Much the same now applies for solar energy generation in parts of Africa. Eseye is helping to deliver water and electricity to hundreds of thousands of people in Africa, using ubiquitous IoT micro payments through mobile money applications. Once again the technology is there, it’s about finding the right business model.