In an interview at African Utility Week 2015, David Schaub-Jones, co-founder of SeeSaw, which customises ICT and other technology to support sanitation and water providers in the developing world, talks about some of the ways mobile telephony is bringing innovations for African utilities.

Schaub-Jones gives two examples of pilot projects that his company is working on in Africa. In one, utility staff are using smartphones for recording meter readings, photographing meters and with a mobile printer printing out bills for customers. In the other, a “miscall” system is being used for customer engagement to enable customers to signal to the utility issues such as dissatisfaction with service or non-arrival of a bill.

“These are applications one wouldn’t see in Europe because the context is different,” says Schaub-Jones, noting that Kenya is another example where there has been innovation in mobile payment, which has “leapt ahead of Europe.”