Case Studies

BRCK: Rugged Internet for People & Things

NAIROBI, KENYA

BRCK is a connectivity device developed in Nairobi, Kenya by the hardware and service company BRCK. The device is designed to work in harsh environments with unreliable electricity. BRCK is able to support up to 40 devices and remain functioning for 8 hours when power is out, as well as managing changes between Ethernet, Wifi, and 3G. The initial device was launched in July 2014, and by the beginning of 2015, thousands of devices had been sold in over 54 countries around the world.

Read more on the BRCK website

Project Isizwe

TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA

Project Isizwe collaborates with local, provincial, and national government to provide Wi-Fi to low-income communities. In order to pursue their purpose of education, economic development, and social inclusion, Project Isizwe also provides a portal with curated content to empower local communities to participate in the mainstream economy. Project Isizwe has deployed over 803 Free Internet Zones (FIZs) in Tshwane, connected over 1,800,000 unique users in the Capital City since November 2013, and rolled out capacity for 40,000 users around schools in Atlantis and Robertson.

Read more on the Project Isizwe website

Klif

AFRICA

Klif is a smartphone aimed at making the mobile Internet accessible to many more people in Africa. It was distributed by the French carrier Orange and used Firefox OS, the mobile operating system developed by Mozilla. Orange bundled the $40 smartphone with unlimited texts, unlimited calls and 500 megabytes (MB) of 3G data a month for the first six months. The Klif phone was launched in March 2015 was available in 18 countries across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Read more about the Klif smartphone

Grameenphone GoFox F15

DHAKA, BANGLADESH

Bangladeshi carrier Grameenphone introduced the GoFox F15 device through its local mobile phone brand Symphony. The phone was priced at less than $60, making it accessible for many feature phone users in Bangladesh. In order to get users on the Internet right away and free of charge, the device included Telenor Digital’s WowBox service that awarded users 20MB of free data per day by just visiting the phone’s marketplace. The phone was launched in September 2014.

Read more about Grameenphone's GoFox F15 smartphone on the Mozilla Blog

Technology Considerations

Technology barriers to be aware of:

  • Power consumption needs to be low. Electricity is not available everywhere, or is rationed.
  • “Sip” usage of data as needed instead of free-flow data due to data bandwidth spend or coverage concerns.
  • Build for robust offline experience. There is spotty coverage or blind spots.
  • Wifi to cellular connection handover needs to work. People regularly use public wifi at stations etc.
  • Dual SIMs are popular so assume more than one network connected intermittently.
  • Carrier billing needs to be supported as credit cards are not widely used.
  • Sideloading of apps needs to be supported.

Human barriers to be aware of:

  • Digital literacy: fear and lack of understanding of technology.
  • Economics: affordability of devices or services.
  • Language barriers: lack of localization and relevant local information.
  • Basic literacy: unable to read or write, need color coded UI, etc.
  • Concerns about obsolescence: faster than is affordable.
  • Fear of wear and tear: tech products may not withstand tough conditions.