More than 75% of the population of The Sub-Saharan Africa is without access to the power grid. Solar Home Systems are providing clean, reliable and affordable access to energy to these people. Smart Phone penetration is rising rapidly even in rural areas of East Africa. More than 30% of Mobisol’s new customer own a Smartphone - almost 100% driven by Android. Using this phone as a functional extension to a Solar Home System is tempting.
Connecting a Solar Home System with an Android Phone is technically challenging as the variety of low end Android phones and frequent model changes will not allow you to trust on standards.
During the talk we will explain how we developed an Android based solution to communicate and collect data from our solar home systems and how we use this data in an app that we offer to our customers to provide smart functionality. We'll tell about our experiences with communication over USB using an Android Open Accessory as well as over Bluetooth, how we created a prototype using IOIO OTG and how we later built a custom made USB Accessory embedded in our solar home systems, as well as difficulties we experienced while doing these.