How M-KOPA is using IoT technology to connect over 750,000 off-grid homes in Africa

Partner Content: Microsoft

A recent report entitled ‘Potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa’, published by the African Development Bank found that there has been significant uptake of technologies such as IoT – an industry said to be worth a potential $12.6 billion by 2021. Growth of investments such as artificial intelligence, big data as well as additive manufacturing and drones was also found.

Digital transformation is a concept that is synonymously spoken of with widespread innovation and unprecedented change – particularly on a continent where the potential opportunities and benefits are endless. It’s interesting then that on a continent where so much promise exists, and where progress has certainly been made, many countries and the communities housed in these still do not have access to the resources that would allow them to realise the promise advancements in technology holds.

However one of the largest IoT companies on the continent, M-KOPA, has been playing a crucial and monumental role in bringing IoT to Africa’s 500 million person off-grid market and driving tangible economic empowerment in over 750,000 households. M-KOPA’s pay-as-you-go platform is making connected homes a reality in a low-income setting – which is yet to happen even in supposedly ‘developed’ markets.

“Early in our journey we realised that in order of us to achieve our goal of helping low-income consumers afford and power high-quality appliances, we required technology solutions that would allow us to scale, share, collaborate and analyse data. It’s precisely why after careful consideration we settled on solutions from Microsoft to help us make this a reality,” says Jesse Moore, CEO and Co-Founder, M-KOPA.

Now one of the largest users of Microsoft Azure on the content, M-KOPA’s solar systems and life-changing appliances are helping make millions of people healthier, wealthier and more connected. “The company has been able to leverage IoT enabled devices and Azure Machine Learning technology in order to better understand client behaviour – ultimately allowing us to provide continuous, insightful improvements to our products,” says Wale Olokodana, Business Group Lead for Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft Middle East Africa Multi Country Cluster covering North, West, East, Southern Africa, Levant & Pakistan.

Adding to its stack of solutions from Microsoft, the organisation is also able to remotely control equipment, monitor performance, proactively intervene on impending system outages and troubleshoot any arising issues. M-KOPA employs Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations to provide solar power to this enormous number of homes and adds 500 new homes per day.

Moore continues, “We’ve outgrown our competition by building the largest and best distribution and customer care operations in our markets. With this, came the need for a communication and payment technology solution that could be accessed easily, through any mobile device. Through the use of Microsoft’s Kaizala App, our sales and distribution teams are much more connected and able to deal quicker with customer enquiries.”

For organisations looking to provide sustainable solutions and lasting impact to the vast array of communities across the continent, the message is clear – employ solutions that bring your team and ultimately your offering closer to those who need it. There’s a lot to be said for digital transformation – and with the correct technology to streamline and connect, crossing the bridge to those who need it will be achievable.