Hub, Cloud & Agent
Using the BuffaloGrid Hub, our Cloud Platform and our Agent Network, we deliver services into towns and villages to help our customers get connected and stay connected.
We select our agents to make sure they are located in areas where we can have the biggest impact. We then provide a BuffaloGrid Hub free-of-charge to our agents and give them the training and support that they need. Our agents then sell services from the Hub to customers living in their village and they receive income from every sale. This is all controlled by our Cloud Platform that manages payment, unlocks services and provides data on Hub behaviour.
Our Service can do a lot of things. But today, we are focussed on providing power to help our customers keep their mobile phones connected.
When a customer wants to use our service, they send a mobile payment from their phone to BuffaloGrid referencing the unique ID for the Hub in their village. We can take payment via Premium SMS, M-Pesa and PayTM. Instructions on how to do this are available on the Hub, and the agent is there to guide the customer.
Once the payment has been processed, we send a confirmation message to the customer and we open a charging port on the Hub. This whole process only takes a few seconds. The customer can then plug their phone into the Hub using one of our custom charging cables.
Whether the customer has a feature phone or a smartphone, they will always receive a full charge. And if they want to use their phone while it’s charging or need to disconnect their phone midway through charging, that’s fine with us. It’s their phone. We’re here to make sure they can use it more!
You need three things to stay connected - a device, a connection and power. Smartphones are cheaper than ever before and nearly ubiquitous, even in rural areas. Cellular network coverage, for both voice and data, is already good and getting better. But in many parts of the world, off-grid power is expensive, grid-edge power is scarce and on-grid power is unreliable. Without an affordable, reliable source of power, getting your phone charged is a daily challenge. That’s why right now, we are focussed on providing power for our customers, because for many that is the main reason they are not connected.
Who Uses BuffaloGrid
Our customers live in grid-edge and off-grid villages. In areas where the grid is available, our service is a convenience and used mainly by smartphone owners or customers who live outside the village. In off-grid areas with no source of reliable power, our service is a necessity and used as the primary means for villagers to charge their phone.
Where It’s Needed
Today, we are focussed on delivering our service direct to customers in Uttar Pradesh through our own Agent Network. Our service is co-ordinated by our Field Support Team located in Faizabad. Our operations in India are managed by our national team which is based in Delhi. And our service is designed and developed by our product team based London.
We are also exploring other markets outside of India in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. If you are interested in running a BuffaloGrid Network in your country, get in touch.
Global Off-Grid Challenge
There are 1.3 billion people in the world who lack access to power. Nearly half live in Africa and are spread across 49 different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In extreme cases, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, over 90% of the population live off-grid. Globally, the other half live in Asia, with 304 million people living off-grid in India, or 23% of the global off-grid population. When you add Pakistan and Bangladesh, and you focus-in on the sub-Himalayan Belt of North India, you can find a third of the world’s total off-grid population. [Source: IEA]
To provide a simple, reliable and robust service that our customers love, we have developed a unique approach to the demands of running a service in off-grid areas. Our Hub and Cloud generate data that helps our field teams make decisions on everything from where a Hub should be located, to what promotions we should run and when. This approach, that uses live data to inform our human systems, helps us deliver a service our customers love and that is ready for scale.