BuffaloGrid: connecting the next 1 billion to the internet
Smart energy business supported by Innovate UK aims to power a smartphone revolution that will help drive wealth and wellbeing in the developing world.
We rely on mobile phones in the developed world. We do business with them, pay for goods and services, connect with culture and promote our wellbeing.
The United Nations sees improved mobile connectivity as key to ending poverty, halting climate change and fighting injustice and inequality across the world by 2030.
Increased smartphone use is having a major impact in the developed world, helping to create and power new business services, improving communication in remote areas, and connecting people to education and health services.
Smart devices rely on power. It is estimated that 700 million people with access to a smartphone do not have power, including 300 million in India alone.
Daniel Becerra, founder of BuffaloGrid, recently said:
The mobile phone is the most significant tool for people living in developing regions. They are known as ‘smartphone-first users’. They don’t have laptops, they don’t have PCs.
All their work, all their entertainment, everything goes through their mobile device. The first barrier to internet adoption is power.
Hub allows users to charge phones at local shop
BuffaloGrid has developed a smartphone charging hub with support of Innovate UK funding. The device has an internet connection and can charge many phones at one time with power supplied by solar panels.
The prototype BuffaloGrid hub is being used in mobile operator shops in rural parts of India where electricity is unreliable and intermittent.
Customers can charge their phones for free when the electricity supply is down. The company is planning to commercially supply hundreds of new hubs in the next 12 months.
BuffaloGrid also won support from Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst to prototype a portable version of the hub, the Buffalito, that users can take home.
A further Energy Catalyst project is now helping the company to take the Buffalito through to commercialisation.
We are starting to look at different markets. We are working with the High Commission for Refugees for an incoming trial in a refugee camp in Uganda. We also have interest from Papua New Guinea, Haiti and Rwanda.
Working with Innovate UK has been very effective for us. It has given us the opportunity to keep innovating and developing our technology.
We started with a bicycle generator and now have an internet-enabled solar-powered hub that works on a subscription model paid for by network operators and is free to the user.
Connection is stepping-stone to a better life
Daniel started BuffaloGrid in 2011 and it now employs people in the UK and India.
He recently said:
What we often forget is that 1 in 2 people in the world do not experience the internet. Our vision is to connect the next 1 billion people. Connectivity is the stepping-stone to a more productive, healthy and enhanced life.
Latest News from
CAVForth: creating Europe's first full-sized autonomous bus08/09/2020 09:10:00
The project has been part-funded by £4.5 million from the government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK.
5StarS: developing a security framework for autonomous and connected vehicles07/09/2020 15:38:00
Government funds project to develop an automotive cybersecurity assurance framework.
MuCCA: government-backed collision avoidance system achieves world first07/09/2020 13:33:00
Demonstration of collision avoidance system sees 2 vehicles steer around stationary car without human assistance.
Aurrigo makes breakthrough in driverless pods technology07/09/2020 12:25:00
Coventry-based company has also created new jobs to meet global demand for driverless pods.
Humandrive: vehicle completes 230 mile, self-navigated drive across the UK07/09/2020 09:10:00
Government-backed autonomous vehicles project has achieved its goal of sending a Nissan LEAF on a self-navigated 'Grand Drive'.
Innovate UK launches four-year design strategy21/08/2020 09:10:00
The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, yesterday published a strategy that seeks to encourage and support excellent design in innovation.
Foundation industries: building a resilient recovery: apply for funding06/08/2020 09:10:00
UK-registered businesses can apply for a share of £8 million in grant funding for projects supporting the recovery and growth of foundation industries.
Innovative nuclear competition launch – are you ready for the challenge?28/07/2020 09:12:00
A £3.9 million competition was launched yesterday to find innovative ways to sort and segregate radioactive waste at some of the UK’s oldest nuclear sites.