The African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) project has secured a US$ 3,000 FIRE Africa Award. ARED is a turnkey solution for people in Africa to start up their own micro-business through a franchised model that uses a mobile solar kiosk platform for charging electronic devices amongst other services.
The idea came to Nyakarundi when he saw many people trying to charge their phones at places like airports. However, he soon realised that charging alone wouldn’t be a sustainable business model, so he improved it to include additional digital services. The Shiriki Hub is innovative hardtech technology on two fronts.
Hardware and Software
ARED’s newest kiosk uses state of the art technology and can charge over 30 phone at once, and because of its advanced mobile design it can be towed using a bicycle or a motorbike. The solar panels can be folded to offer better security for the kiosk operator. The hardware includes many interesting features. A lithium battery bank allows the operator to work even at night, tubeless tires are an additional feature to minimize maintenance costs, and a speaker system that allows operators to distribute audio content to customers who do not have smart phones. The game changer is the router system that allows anyone with a smart phone or tablet to access digital content stored on the kiosk without the need to store data on their phone or incur network usage costs. Finally, a sensor technology such as motion sensor GPS is integrated to better monitor the kiosk on the ground.
ARED’s software has been a key addition and these services are also available on an app, and data on training, services and more can be collected for future improvements.
‘’Our vision for the SHIRIKI HUB is simple: Create an environmentally sustainable product of our own design, engineering, and production that empowers millions of people and provides affordable services and valuable digital content to them. We want to build the largest WIFI network for low-income people in rural and semi urban areas.’’ says Nyakarundi.