Evonet’s Mission

In the Developing World, new technical solutions are being installed to address issues fundamental to life – lighting, water pumps, electricity for mobile phones and appliances.

Most of these products are based on electronics designed in the Developed World, and manufactured in China. Both design and manufacture require sophisticated and expensive equipment that is not available in the Developing World.

Electronics and digital technology remain dependent on the manufacturer after they are purchased, for:

·         Supplies of spare parts that cannot be simply copied or obtained elsewhere,

·         Software maintenance – to:

o   Fix bugs

o   Head off new virus threats

o   Cope with changes in the situation the equipment has to deal with

o   Provide continued compatibility with other equipment containing software that has been upgraded,

·         More and more products only function by talking to a server maintained by the manufacturer

If the manufacturer stops providing these functions for any reason at all, the product may suddenly become useless. We don’t have a good word for this continued dependence on the manufacturer after purchase, but it is increasingly the dominant factor in determining end-of-life.

Electronic products do also break – a product that would never break would be impractically expensive and unwieldy – and manufacturers also, sometimes intentionally, make their products difficult to repair using standard tools – and they usually do not provide service information.

The end result, if we are not careful, will be a Developing World full of great but short-lived and broken solutions. Evonet’s mission is to prevent this happening.

There are three ways in which Evonet is tackling this issue:

·         Campaigning for the degree of continued dependence on the manufacturer after purchase to be explicit in supply agreements, and for repairability to be an integral part of Product Specifications,

·         Ensuring that compatibility between system components is clear – specifically between off-grid electricity supply systems and domestic appliances, and supporting standardisation initiatives for off-grid domestic appliances,

·         Providing education and training in maintenance and repair of electronic products in West Africa.

Lighting Up Africa presentation

Demo video of universal LED lamp