supply chain

FoneAstra: Enabling Remote Monitoring of Vaccine Cold-Chains Using Commodity Mobile Phones

Posted by VivianOnano on Sep 22, 2011
FoneAstra: Enabling Remote Monitoring of Vaccine Cold-Chains Using Commodity Mobile Phones data sheet 1535 Views
Chaudhri, Rohit,Eleanor O'Rourke, Shawn McGuire, Gaetano Borriello, Richard Anderson.
Publication Date: 
Dec 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

 We present a low-cost, energy-efficient system to remotely monitor the temperature and location of vaccines in a countrywide “cold-chain”. Our system is based on FoneAstra [11] – a low-cost, microcontroller-based, programmable device that extends capabilities of low-tier mobile phones that are commonly used in developing countries.

In the system discussed in this paper, FoneAstra is enhanced with a digital temperature sensor and integrated with a vaccine cold-box used to store vaccines in a temperature controlled environment. FoneAstra continuously monitors the temperature of the cold-box, aggregating readings over a period of time.

It uses the mobile phone to which it is coupled to send periodic SMS messages with routine temperature reports or immediate alerts if  it detects abnormal temperature conditions. Additionally, it enables location-tracking of vaccines in transit, based on the mobile phone’s cell tower-IDs.

We present results from an ongoing lab-deployment done at PATH [18], our Seattle-based partner NGO for this project. Over the next few months, we will deploy this temperature and location monitoring system for vaccine cold-chains in several countries in which PATH operates.

The client in this system, which includes a temperature sensor, FoneAstra and a mobile phone, costs $50; while the server, which includes a Netbook and a GSM modem, costs $500. We discuss how our system can scale up to enable large-scale monitoring while incurring low overhead costs.


Posted by akkihal on Jan 08, 2011
Samaanguru data sheet 2035 Views
Main Contact: 
Anup Akkihal
Problem or Need: 

The app addresses stockouts and market connectivity problems for remote users.  in general, it lowers costs and increases performance for the flow of goods to and from villages.  For village producers (of crops, milk, arts, crafts and textiles) it serves as a market connection mechanism (like Craig's list).  For village consumers (of medicines, healthcare, and retail goods) it optimizes inventory policy for the shopkeeper to maintain reliable availability.  

Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 

Samaanguru is a robust mobile supply chain management platform that addresses stock visibility, inventory control, order management, demand forecasting, optimization, and analytic visualization of transactional activity.

Tool Category: 
App resides and runs on a mobile phone
Is a web-based application/web service
Key Features : 
  • Mobile stock counts, issues (sales), receipts (purchases), order placement, order view/negotiate/confirm, and material information displays.
  • Configurable browser-side demand board, mapping, reports, analytics, etc.
  • It's an out-of-the-box configurable supply chain management toolkit.
Main Services: 
Information Resources/Information Databases
Display tool in profile: 
Tool Maturity: 
Currently deployed
Release Date: 
Java ME
All phones/Mobile Browser
Current Version: 
Program/Code Language: 
Languages supported: 
Handsets/devices supported: 
All feature phones supporting Java MIDP 2.0 or higher (Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Micromax, Chinese knock-offs, etc.) Some Android handsets (because they support Java apps)
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 

Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Oct 06, 2010
Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa data sheet 2846 Views
Jenny C. Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti
Publication Date: 
Jun 2010
Publication Type: 
Journal article

We examine the growth of mobile phone technology over the past decade and consider its potential impacts upon quality of life in low-income countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. We first provide an overview of the patterns and determinants of mobile phone coverage in sub-Saharan Africa before describing the characteristics of primary and secondary mobile phone adopters on the continent.

We then discuss the channels through which mobile phone technology can impact development outcomes, both as a positive externality of the communication sector and as part of mobile phone-based development projects, and analyze existing evidence.

While current research suggests that mobile phone coverage and adoption have had positive impacts on agricultural and labor market efficiency and welfare in certain countries, empirical evidence is still somewhat limited. In addition, mobile phone technology cannot serve as the “silver bullet” for development in sub-Saharan Africa. Careful impact evaluations of mobile phone development projects are required to better understand their impacts upon economic and social outcomes, and mobile phone technology must work in partnership with other public good provision and investment.

Running Out of Credit : The Limitations of Mobile Telephony in a Tanzanian Agricultural Marketing System

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Aug 24, 2010
Running Out of Credit : The Limitations of Mobile Telephony in a Tanzanian Agricultural Marketing System data sheet 2024 Views
Thomas Molony
Publication Date: 
Jan 2008
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Poor farmers often lack credit to purchase agricultural inputs, and rely on their buyers to provide it. This paper considers the effects of mobile phones on traders of perishable foodstuffs operating between Tanzania’s Southern Highlands and Dar es Salaam’s wholesale market, with a particular focus on the importance of credit in the relationship between potato and tomato farmers and their wholesale buyers.

It argues that the ability to communicate using these new information and communication technologies (ICTs) does not significantly alter the trust relationship between the two groups. It also suggests that farmers, in effect, often have to accept the price they are told their crops are sold for – irrespective of the method of communication used to convey this message – because their buyers are also their creditors. In this situation, many farmers are unable to exploit new mobile phone-based services to seek information on market prices, and potential buyers in other markets. Doing so runs the risk of breaking a long-term relationship with a buyer who is willing to supply credit because of their established business interaction.

It is suggested that, under a more open system than currently exists in Tanzania, mobile-payment (‘m-payment’) applications should target these creditor-buyers as key agents in connecting farmers to the credit they so often require.

Preventing Famine with a Mobile

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 21, 2008

Ethopia again this year has experienced crippling droughts.  Faced with the possibility of famine, UNICEF Ethiopia launched a massive food distribution program to supply the high-protein food Plumpy'nut to under-nourished children using mobile phones for monitoring and delivering supplies its more than 1,8000 feeding centers in the country. 

To coordinate the distribution and maintain appropriate stocks, field monitors reported on supplies and number of children fed through an SMS reporting system using a UNICEF-built mobile data collection and monitoring software, RapidSMS.  We have previously reviewed RapidSMS here, comparing it with a less scaleable lower-end tool, Frontline SMS. 

The emergency food supply chain before RapidSMS