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SolarNow, a business providing solar energy, appliances and financing solutions in East Africa, has partnered with IoT M2M connectivity specialist Eseye to provide more and better services to SolarNow customers.

The IoT based solution will utilise Eseye’s global cellular network data through the AnyNet Secure SIM, while integrating M2M cellular connectivity and AWS Cloud within its solutions.

The SIM’s enhanced features enable SolarNow to remotely and securely activate, provision, authenticate and certify deployed devices over-the-air, in up to 190 countries.

Working with developers at SolarNow, Eseye created the software and supplied a reference design, which the company could simply copy onto the circuit board of the microprocessor, which sits on a solar controller and manages SolarNow’s solutions.

Integration with AWS Cloud Services will simplify project set up and deployment, by reducing the need for investment in specialist in-house infrastructure and development resources.

Jeremy Potgieter, SADC regional head at Eseye, says that SolarNow’s requirement was to enhance access to and use of device data: “They wanted better oversight of remote equipment and to be able to communicate with clients, for example when payments are due or if there is an issue with their device.”

Potgieter further states that SolarNow’s capabilities have empowered the company to become completely self-reliant in connecting and managing its growing product portfolio: “By taking a proven design and effectively copying it into its devices, has enabled SolarNow to move from a non-connected to a connected product offering, and to take full advantage of the capabilities of IoT.

“This not only provides the company with huge growth potential, but also adds a new level to its customer service offering.”

SolarNow has also been able to improve its service offering, by analysing enhanced system data to communicate with the clients if there is an issue with their device, when payments are due, or to issue a warning.

Understanding client behaviour

By building a wider picture of the customer and understanding how they use the system to develop product value, the company has gained a new way of interacting with customers through its solar solutions.

“By turning to cellular connectivity, SolarNow can further credit provision, mostly through better insights into client behaviour; making solar more accessible through affordable finance. Using cellular connectivity also means the performance of the solar system can be remotely monitored, ensuring a much better service for customers,” says Peter Huisman, CTO at SolarNow.

Potgieter says that SolarNow has fully exploited the tools to make IoT easy – a move which is not only pivotal for the company’s future growth, but also for the future of the customers it serves: “The power of connected technology to solve issues and truly change lives across Africa, by enabling service provision for even the most remote or disempowered members of its communities, cannot be underestimated.”

The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting the lives of millions around the world – but none more so than those in Africa.


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