While most of the companies we work with are large manufacturing or shipping companies, occasionally we work with a smaller organization. We thought we’d highlight one of our customers, OffGridBox, a fellow member of Boston's vibrant startup scene. OffGridBox uses the Tive solution in an unusual way for a really unique and worthwhile purpose. I recently interviewed Davide Bonsignore, COO of OffGridBox.
Tell me a little about OffGridBox, what do you do?
OffGridBox manufactures a compact solution that provides electricity and water to entire villages in developing countries. Our solution is a box about six feet by six feet by six feet, with solar panels on top, that produces clean water, electricity and internet connectivity. Each box supports 230 families.
How did the company get started?
The company was originally an engineering consulting business for sustainability, we spent 10 years doing that. Then 2 1/2 years ago we came up with the idea of a small container to provide water and electricity. We had just done 5 projects to provide water and electricity for kindergartens in South Africa, each one unique, and it occurred to us that if we standardized the design it would be much more efficient. That’s when we created OffGridBox.
How many installations do you have today?
We’ve sold 28 boxes in the Philippines, Colombia, Italy, South Africa, Madagascar, and Rwanda.
What sort of locations does your equipment generally get placed in?
The best way to describe these locations are “the middle of nowhere”. It’s generally a small village in the countryside in a developing country. We provide the first electricity the village has ever had.
How do you get the equipment there?
The box is manufactured in Italy, then shipped by ocean to the destination country, then loaded onto a crane truck for delivery to the village.
How is Tive helping you deliver the boxes?
We’re using Tive to make sure we can get the box safely to the village. The box is rugged but can be damaged if bounced around too much. The roads that we travel on in the destination country can be quite bumpy, so we’re using a Tive tracker to measure the bumps along the way. For example we recently delivered a box to a village in Rwanda, and we drove the truck 120 miles from the port in Kigali to the village. The biggest bump was 1.5 G and the container is rated to 2 G so we knew it would be okay.
We also plan to use Tive to let us know when the box clears customs in the destination port. As you can imagine most customs officials have never seen a product like this so it can take some time for them to decide it’s okay to pass. We hire a local crane truck and driver to pick the box at the port, and in the past we didn’t know when to send the truck. With Tive we can see that the box has moved through customs and we know to call the truck.