Inveneo Delivers 100 New Internet Connections for Ebola Fight in West Africa

  1. Posted by Inveneo on June 18, 2015 in the categories: Events

Inveneo, in partnership with Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer, and NetHope, as part of the joint Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI), succeeded in delivering 100 new high-speed Internet connections to government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

End Users

Humanitarian workers working in West Africa’s healthcare sector are now able to go online thanks to Inveneo and partners from the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) project.

As a result of this project, individuals working in NGO, UN, or government offices, Ebola treatment facilities, hospitals, and logistical hubs can now use high-speed broadband Internet to connect with healthcare applications, NGO headquarters, healthcare workers, and friends and family.

Inveneo delivered the milestone of 100 connections in less than five months. According to Inveneo’s Executive Director, Bruce Baikie, “The commitment and close collaboration of all partners was essential. The true stars of this project were the field teams, which included staff from Inveneo and Damsel, Inveneo’s certified partner in Sierra Leone. The field teams were just incredible, scaling rooftops and towers up to 175 feet high to install equipment underneath the blazing hot West African sun, six or more days a week in the realization that every connection counts to help save a life and create a more resilient healthcare system.”

This project establishes a sustainable infrastructure for high-speed Internet access in remote areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia, which plays a key role in preventing and/or mitigating future disease outbreaks while helping organizations respond more efficiently and effectively to community needs.

The ERCI Project Partners

Facebook
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Founded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and his sister Jody Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded over $529 million to more than 1,500 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, visit http://www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.

Cisco
Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

EveryLayer
EveryLayer has developed a cloud-based software platform and new approach that allows ISPs to deliver faster, better, cheaper broadband in the emerging markets of Africa and Asia. EveryLayer’s platform simplifies how providers design, deploy and manage low cost last mile networks and provides technical and commercial blueprints so service providers can speed to market in weeks, not months, with new services that are 80% lower cost than leading broadband providers.
http://www.everylayer.com

Inveneo
Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise that delivers the tools of technology – sustainable computing and broadband – to those who need it most in the developing world, to transform lives through better education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and faster relief. Inveneo is leveraging more than 10 years of experience of successfully introducing technology and expanding connectivity to underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to implement this project.
http://www.inveneo.org

NetHope
Founded in 2001, NetHope is a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations providing emergency relief, human development and conservation programs in more than 180 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, NetHope enables members to leverage their technology investments to better serve their end beneficiaries.
http://www.nethope.org

Inveneo Wins Prestigious Award from ASME and Engineering for Change

  1. Posted by Inveneo on October 20, 2017 in the categories: News

Co-Founder and Executive Director Robert Marsh received the award for Inveneo.

On October 18, 2017 Inveneo had the honor of receiving the “Connecting the Unconnected” award from Engineering for Change and ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers) at the recent Impact.Engineered event held in New York City. The IEEE – SA Global Affairs Program Director Moira Patterson presented Inveneo with the award, describing the incredible impact Inveneo has brought to many rural and previously unconnected communities around the world.

Co-Founder and current Executive Director Robert Marsh represented Inveneo and received the award for the team. As he was on stage he announced that, “when [I was] told about the event, I said I might not be there because I’ll be in Liberia connected the unconnected” which brought great laughter from the audience.

Inveneo proudly shares this category with two other winners who were World Possible and Google. The evening’s events also included the following awards and winners:

The award from ASME and Engineering for Change.

Hardware Trailblazer
D-REV
The ASME/Engineering for Change’s ISHOW Global Winner

Women Leading in Technology and Impact
Elaine Weidman, Ericsson
Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Foundation
Linda Raftree, Independent Consultant; Convener, Tech Salon NYC and MERL Tech

Corporate Philanthropy Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals
Siemens Stiftung

Impact.Engineered Honorary Engineer
John Hockenberry, WNYC Radio

The Inveneo team would like to congratulate all the winners at the event and say a special thank you to the ASME and Engineering for Change teams for the award. It was an exceptional evening and several past Inveneo employees were also present, including Wayan Vota and Mariela Machado, who continue to make incredible contributions in the ICT world!

Thank You Solar Library Champions!

  1. Posted by Inveneo on February 16, 2016 in the categories: Projects

We’re extremely grateful for all of our Generosity campaign supporters!  As of February 16, 2016, nearly 60 people had donated approximately $14,200 to our campaign.  We’re excited to begin assembling the Solar Libraries this month to send to Haiti.

In particular, we’d like to give a big shout out to our three Solar Library Champion supporters!

  • Ann Cude
  • Alexandra Grill-Childers
  • Sharon Penley

Thank you to our Solar Library Champions and to all of our donors for your help and support!

Picture for Siemens Project Campaign

Inveneo’s Solar Powered Digital Library Generosity (by Indiegogo) Campaign!

  1. Posted by Inveneo on November 23, 2015 in the categories: News

Inveneo is proud to announce the launch of its Generosity (by Indiegogo) campaign, which aims to raise $50,000 to deliver Solar Powered Digital Libraries to 15 remote, rural schools in Haiti.  We are grateful to craigslist’s Craig Newmark for his generous contribution of $10,000!  

The Problem

Throughout the developing world, millions of schoolchildren lack (or only have limited access to) books and basic learning resources, much less computers or the Internet.  Transporting volumes of books or computers to schools can be expensive and logistically daunting.  Digital libraries – tablets or computers (PCs) loaded with thousands of e-books and other educational resources – have begun to enhance learning opportunities in the developing world.  However, many existing digital library solutions require Internet or power.

The Solution

Inveneo’s Solar Powered Digital Library (Solar Library) is ruggedly designed for schools lacking educational resources, Internet, and power.  It includes thousands of e-books, lectures, and other educational resources (e.g. Wikipedia) that can be accessed completely off-the grid.

Call to Action

Donate Today!  Please join our campaign by donating today!  We are extremely grateful for any level of support you can provide.  Thank you!

What's in a Solar Library

Who Won Inveneo's Micro-Data Center Design Challenge?

  1. Posted by sguser on September 23, 2015 in the categories: Events

Inveneo, in partnership with ARM, LeMaker, and Protocase, is pleased to announce that a winner has been selected for its recent $10,000 Micro-Data Center Design Challenge. Congratulations to William Weatherholtz and his team “Micro Weather” who are the winners of the $10,000 challenge! Mr. Weatherholtz, who lives in Utah in the United States, describes his team’s design in the following statement:

half-of-team-post-hike-300x225-3“This design challenge [was] essentially an enclosure and heat problem. The concerns with racking, powering, and layout of the data center components are relatively trivial to determining how to prevent heat issues.

Our design plans to tackle these difficult challenges…by mounting the solar panels on top to converting the highest source of incident radiation/heat into useful power. We anticipate the overall design being quite shallow, to maximize solar power generation, minimize cost, and minimize failure due to the enclosure tipping over. There is some give and take here however, as a taller fixture will allow higher thermal convection, since the air moves faster.”

(Pictured, L-R: Garrett Johnson, Victoria Johnson, Kelly Weatherholtz; not pictured Joshua Wickern, Bradley Weatherholtz, Landon Weatherholtz)

Coming in second place is “RuggedPOD”, a team from France who was lead by Jean-Marie Verdun. Each member of RuggedPOD will receive a Google Nexus 7 tablet as a prize for his or her hard work and design.

For this design challenge, Inveneo gathered together judges from its own staff, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ARM, LeMaker, and several members from Protocase. There were 50 teams who were accepted to the challenge from all over the world, including China, Italy, Rwanda, India, The United States, Turkey, Kenya, England, Poland, and Haiti. The judges and Inveneo’s partners were amazed with so many terrific designs, which were entered into the contest.

LeMaker, Protocase, ARM, and Inveneo would like to congratulate all the contestants and teams for all their outstanding engineered designs!

Inveneo would also like to thank its partners ARM, Protocase, and LeMaker for all the collaboration and great ideas that made this contest an incredible success. We hope that these winning designs (and other outstanding contributions) will become great innovations in the world of micro-data centers.

Who Won Inveneo’s Micro-Data Center Design Challenge?

  1. Posted by Inveneo on September 23, 2015 in the categories: Events

Inveneo, in partnership with ARM, LeMaker, and Protocase, is pleased to announce that a winner has been selected for its recent $10,000 Micro-Data Center Design Challenge. Congratulations to William Weatherholtz and his team “Micro Weather” who are the winners of the $10,000 challenge! Mr. Weatherholtz, who lives in Utah in the United States, describes his team’s design in the following statement:

half-of-team-post-hike-300x225-3“This design challenge [was] essentially an enclosure and heat problem. The concerns with racking, powering, and layout of the data center components are relatively trivial to determining how to prevent heat issues.

Our design plans to tackle these difficult challenges…by mounting the solar panels on top to converting the highest source of incident radiation/heat into useful power. We anticipate the overall design being quite shallow, to maximize solar power generation, minimize cost, and minimize failure due to the enclosure tipping over. There is some give and take here however, as a taller fixture will allow higher thermal convection, since the air moves faster.”

(Pictured, L-R: Garrett Johnson, Victoria Johnson, Kelly Weatherholtz; not pictured Joshua Wickern, Bradley Weatherholtz, Landon Weatherholtz)

Coming in second place is “RuggedPOD”, a team from France who was lead by Jean-Marie Verdun. Each member of RuggedPOD will receive a Google Nexus 7 tablet as a prize for his or her hard work and design.

For this design challenge, Inveneo gathered together judges from its own staff, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ARM, LeMaker, and several members from Protocase. There were 50 teams who were accepted to the challenge from all over the world, including China, Italy, Rwanda, India, The United States, Turkey, Kenya, England, Poland, and Haiti. The judges and Inveneo’s partners were amazed with so many terrific designs, which were entered into the contest.

LeMaker, Protocase, ARM, and Inveneo would like to congratulate all the contestants and teams for all their outstanding engineered designs!

Inveneo would also like to thank its partners ARM, Protocase, and LeMaker for all the collaboration and great ideas that made this contest an incredible success. We hope that these winning designs (and other outstanding contributions) will become great innovations in the world of micro-data centers.

Join Our Engineering Team and Volunteer with Inveneo!

  1. Posted by Inveneo on September 14, 2015 in the categories: News

Are you interested in digital content for both hardware and software? Do you live in San Francisco or the Bay Area? Inveneo could be looking for YOU!

5499255205_16f6c2980a_bInveneo is investigating new and innovative technologies to deliver digital content to rural schools in developing regions which are off-the-power grid and have no Internet connection. Two technologies we would like hands-on help with include Outernet and Rachel Pi.

The work would entail:

  • setting up the hardware and software of these systems
  • testing their approach, benefits, and limitations
  • investigating (from a software approach) how to integrate these systems together to work in a rural school

We ask the volunteer to work a minimum of five (5) hours per week, primarily in the San Francisco office. The individual would work directly under the Engineering Department, and additional comprehensive work may be requested for ICT support. This position could continue after the initial research is completed.

Please send your resume and a brief cover letter to Jana Melpolder if you would like to apply. Applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis.

How to Design a Data Center for the Developing World

  1. Posted by Inveneo on September 11, 2015 in the categories: News

Note: Inveneo, in partnership with ARM Limited, LeMaker, and Protocase, is pleased to announce that a winner has been selected for its recent $10,000 Micro-Data Center Design Challenge. Congratulations to William Weatherholtz and his team “Micro Weather” who are the winners of the $10,000 challenge! Coming in second place is “RuggedPOD”, a team from France who was lead by Jean-Marie Verdun. Each member of RuggedPOD will receive a Google Nexus 7 tablet as a prize for his or her hard work and design.

They have different interests. One teaches dance. Another is a helicopter pilot-in-training. One is a software engineer. Another is a carpenter. Still another, a studio artist. But they came together with a shared purpose: to try to improve conditions in Third World countries.

half+of+team+post+hikeMeet William Weatherholtz and team, who just won the Inveneo solar-powered Micro-Data Center Design Challenge (Inveneo Launches ARM Micro-Data Center Design Challenge 2015 Bruce Baikie) for their Micro Weather station design. The team’s winning entry is an object lesson in how creative methodology, a diverse team and carefully considered components selection just might help transform developing societies.

“I have a soft spot for Third World countries and I’m really interested in finding ways to improve conditions there,” Weatherholtz said in an interview. “I felt like this was a project that played to my strengths and my desire to educate.”

The design criteria for weather stations is unique: How do you deal with rain, rust, long-term durability, a lack of power sources, and little critters that like to gnaw on things in the wild? Weatherholtz (pictured to the far right of the nearby photo) and his team (pictured, L-R: Garrett Johnson, Victoria Johnson, Kelly Weatherholtz; not pictured Joshua Wickern, Bradley Weatherholtz, Landon Weatherholtz) embraced a unique methodology that included using Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats philosophy. The approach is designed to help improve team perspective and collaboration during projects.  This was a particular interest because the seven team members were dispersed across the country.

“Everyone was assigned a different perspective,” said Weatherholtz, a mechatronics engineer. “So for example, someone was assigned an aspect of the design that only considered price; someone else would focus on aesthetics, and so forth.”

The team rotated through these different considerations and perspectives and then amalgamated different parts of the design into the one they liked.

The team started by identifying the customer needs and translating those into engineering characteristics:

  • What type of battery was required?
  • How much back-up power would be needed? (the team targeted five days for it to run on back-up power initially but ended up at 2.5-3 days—more on that shortly).
  • What other design considerations might be unique for a developing country?
  • What were the environmental needs of the device casing?

Here’s a look at how the team tackled some of the design considerations.

Battery

Inveneo+winning+design+v3+uprightThis was an extremely critical component that needed to be as reliable as possible. Additionally, the team had to understand how much power they could pack into a small space. Should they push the limits for longer back-up power capability and accept the consequences? Additionally, what type of batteries could be shipped internationally?

“We tried to pick a battery with a very high energy density and moderate size, but the battery is still pretty heavy and large,” Weatherholtz said. “Adding another battery would mean another cubic foot of space and an extra 60 pounds in the design.”

At the end of the day, two and a half days backup capability seemed good enough for most applications, he said. That meant the battery could recharge in four hours with sufficient power, and most places get at least five hours of good sunlight, he added. The team ended up selecting an absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery—essentially a golf cart battery—that doesn’t spill, tip or have vulnerable components inside.

Solar Technology

This was one of those developing-country considerations, where ready reliable power sources are hard to find, if not non-existent. Even though it was the team’s first time working with solar, adopting the technology was key. “It’s a fantastic solution in a remote data center application because a data center is a static structure,” Weatherholtz said. “It allowed us to take advantage of that big fusion generator in the sky.”

Casing

The team considered plastic but wanted the system to be able to take a pounding. So they settled on aluminum, a reliable material, which conveniently could serve as a sizable heat sink. They designed to a worst-case scenario of 50C ambient temperature with direct sunlight, no humidity, and no moving air.

“One of our main design criterion was to make the enclosure—and enclosed electronics—reliable.  For us, that meant it needed to be completely sealed with no moving parts,” Weatherholtz said.

Single Board Computer

The contest criteria specified the SBC. As a designer and engineer, Weatherholtz said he doesn’t really like being shoehorned into a solution, but, that said, “the Banana Pi boards were hard to beat,” he acknowledged. The Banana Pi, based on ARM Cortex-A7 with Mali-400 GPU and running open source software, is designed to be inexpensive, small and flexible.

The technology was “robust, open source and low power,” he said. “When you’re dealing with IoT applications and micro data centers, you don’t have a lot of power and you can’t have a lot of heat, so ARM is best.”

One challenge is that boards such as this typically have two sources of heat — RAM and processor.   The team undertook considerable thermodynamic analysis and determined that getting rid of heat was key. The Banana Pi boards were ideal, Weatherholtz said, because the two sources of heat were on the bottom face and as a result, the team was able to direct the heat in the optimal direction. Had the CPU/RAM been on top, then it would have been more challenging to get the heat out, he added.

Overview+Thermal+Analysis+4+sizedWhat was his biggest lesson?

Weatherholtz and team spent a total of 150 engineering hours on the project, for which competitors used ARM-based solutions to create the “micro-board chassis” designs. They will share the $10,000 prize and the design will be built and deployed in the developing world.

“I really can’t overstate the importance of thermal analysis in projects like these,” Weatherholtz said. “If heat doesn’t have a good way to escape, it’s going to build up and cause high temperatures that make your electronics fail, or at least fail prematurely.”

He added:

“For us, making a low thermal-resistance path out of the case was a main design consideration.  We identified where the heat was being generated (see image right), and then got it out.  Everything centered on that.  Where we placed components, what we placed them on, how we connected them to what they were placed on… everything.”

Written by Brian Fuller, an employee of ARM. This post was originally posted on ARM Community and was republished with permission from the author.

Inveneo in Haiti: Digital Literacy for 71 Teachers

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 18, 2015 in the categories: Publications

Inveneo is proud to announce that, due to its projects and Project Manager in Haiti Michelet Guerrier, there are now 71 more teachers who are digitally literate in Haiti. This newly published report is about an ICT Pilot Program [Extension of the Transforming Teaching Through Tablets (TTT) project] to improve Haitian teacher capacity and access to digital educational resources. Inveneo implemented this pilot program in three primary schools in three different regions in Haiti from March to June 2014 (Petit-Goave, Hyacinthe, and Cascade Pichon) before we expanded the program to reach more than 30 secondary teachers in Petit-Goave. The program’s main goal was to demonstrate the benefits of using tablets in a school environment to build teacher capacity and make educational resources available for teachers.

We re-designed the project to fit not only primary school teachers, but also those working in secondary schools. Read the report and check out all the updates!

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 4.14.20 PM (2)

Inveneo Welcomes New Intern from Columbia University

  1. Posted by Inveneo on August 4, 2015 in the categories: News

The Inveneo team has been privileged this summer to welcome onto its staff Mariela Machado Fantacchiotti, a graduate student currently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice department at Columbia University. Mariela came to Inveneo highly recommended from the program’s manager, Ms. Debi Spindelman.

Mariela (4)Mariela is a telecommunications engineer with 5 years of work experience in the ICT sector and describes herself as “passionate about applying ICT for development issues of education, health, agriculture improvements and poverty reduction”. This passion started back in 2006 when she worked for an ICT for development project for the Peruvian NGO EHAS, where she designed and implemented an Internet and IP phone for a local health center. In addition, she speaks five languages and previously earned a Master’s Degree in Information and Communications Technologies in Spain.

Throughout her Inveneo internship, Mariela will be spending most of her time working alongside the engineering department, developing a new M&E approach for new existing Inveneo projects and studying drones for Inveneo’s upcoming Drones 4 Good project. Inveneo has also asked her to research current Internet connectivity in Cuba, including national policies and laws related to ICT and freedom of speech. Additionally, she will be testing the new promise of ICT4D for rural areas called Lantern from Outernet. This device claims to provide Internet connectivity from the satellite for educational purposes, providing offline libraries to rural settings that lack ICT infrastructure. The results will be published on ICTworks.

In her spare time this summer, Mariela is also conducting research for the Earth Institute  together with Jeffrey Sachs that will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly this fall. She is looking into how ICT could be an enabler to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) related to health, education, energy and financial inclusion. She is focusing on the health sector and how ICT innovations could help improve health outcomes in the world. Be sure to look for a snapshot of her research and findings on ICTworks, coming early this fall.

Welcome to the team, Mariela! We’re so glad to have you on board!