Inveneo Bruce Baikie Archives
- 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.
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
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 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 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.
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.
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.
- Posted by Inveneo on October 23, 2014 in the categories: Healthcare, News, Relief
Ebola has become an increasingly serious health crisis around the world, and humanitarian aid organizations in West Africa are in critical need of ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies) to effectively support health care workers. In response, Inveneo is assembling a team that is preparing to travel to Accra, Ghana. Once there they will distribute 500 Google Nexus 7 Tablets (which will be pre-loaded with crisis-response apps) to major aid agencies working on the ground in affected areas.
The Inveneo team, led by Senior Field Engineer Samuel Perales and Executive Director Bruce Baikie, will provide a Tablets for Ebola Responders training, delivering relevant skill sets to aid workers stationed throughout West Africa. This project will support up to 50 aid organizations.
Inveneo is eager to launch this project because of its ability to impact thousands living in communities potentially affected by Ebola. “International relief organizations have been expressing the need for tablets on the ground. Having seen firsthand just how effective these tablets were in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan last year in the Philippines, we are particularly eager to get tablets into the hands of aid organizations working to eradicate Ebola,” explains Samuel Perales.
The Google Nexus 7 tablets will be pre-loaded with software and apps that enable post-crisis communication and coordination. With programs like street-level maps and access to medical information, tablets become powerful ICT tools in the fight against Ebola. Aid workers will be able to deliver medical supplies more quickly and will receive updates and news stories that rural communities desperately need.
Inveneo’s team has been at the forefront in responding to global crises with effective ICTs. In addition to supporting recovery efforts after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit The Philippines in 2013, our team also responded to Haiti’s 2010 earthquake with the rapid build-out of a wireless broadband network that enabled communication necessary for relief and rebuilding efforts. In 2005, we sent team members to Mississippi immediately after hurricane Katrina to assist with rebuilding communications.
Inveneo needs your help to fight Ebola and to raise $185,000 for our Tablets for Ebola Responders project. Your donation will enable us to provide these needed tablets and training in Ghana to support aid organizations working throughout West Africa. For more information and to support our efforts visit http://inveneo.org/donate
- Posted by Inveneo on September 24, 2014 in the categories: Events, Relief, User Machine
Our Executive Director, Bruce Baikie, recently co-presented at the Engineering for Change webinar on September 24th, 2014. Along with Dr. Laura Hosman, Assistant Professor at Cal Poly in California, he discussed Inveneo’s recent findings on the top ICT4D hardware challenges throughout the world, particularly in emerging markets.
Check out their entire webinar presentation here. If you were able to join in on the webinar, online or by using the hashtag #E4CWebinars, thanks for following along!
- Posted by Inveneo on August 5, 2014 in the categories: Publications, Relief
“I came to Uganda to run the technical side of a mobile phone company. Instead, I was running the largest diesel fuel distribution company in the country—in order to run the mobile phone company,” says Francis Kazinduki, former CTO of MTN in Uganda. And he is not alone.
This quote, taken from Dr. Laura Hosman and Dr. Laura Elizabeth Armey’s study on “The Centrality of Electricity for Internet Uptake in Low-Income Countries”, is a common sentiment among ICT professionals working in low-income countries. In their innovative study, Hosman and Armey analyze Internet usage growth in diverse locations from Mali to Haiti, and Sierra Leone to the Solomon Islands. What, they ask, is a key factor influencing ICT adoption across all of these low-income countries?
Their answer: Access to electricity.
Increased distribution of electricity across a nation is a key vanguard to ICT development success. Using dynamic panel data analysis, the two researchers based their findings on a unique data set taken from satellite images that capture the quantity and distribution of light that can be observed at night from outer space. This data set mediates variables such as defining what constitutes access to electricity and protects the study from faulty self-reported national electricity and energy data. While other researchers have used similar data sets for other purposes, this study is the first of its kind to use night-lights to measure real electricity use.
Hosman and Armey recommend pursuing policies that expand the distribution of electricity to greater numbers of people, not just increasing the total electrical output in each country, which tends to prioritize cities. The more people that have access to electricity, the greater demand will be for using the Internet and other related technologies. It is fruitless, they say, to discuss a digital divide where electricity does not exist. Many ICT projects have collapsed because they don’t fully realize the existing (or absent) electrical infrastructure within a country. Addressing the electricity divide between high-income and low-income countries will not only spur industrial and knowledge-based economic growth, but will enable millions around the world to connect online.
The key lesson to be learned? ICT development initiatives must first consider a location’s existing electrical infrastructure before setting up shop. The idea seems simple – it is just often overlooked.
The infographic below is based off the study and was created by Bruce Baikie, Inveneo’s Executive Director. You can follow him on Twitter for more ICT updates at @BruceICT4D. This article was republished with permission from ICTworks.
- Posted by Inveneo on April 4, 2014 in the categories: Events
Inveneo’s Executive Director Bruce Baikie is scheduled to speak at the upcoming XIV Infopoverty World Conference, which will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Taking place on April 10th – 11th, 2014, the conference will examine how ICT and digital innovations can help achieve and sustain the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
Mr. Baikie will participate on the Services and Applications for Disadvantaged People and Communities panel that will be held on Friday, April 11th, from 9:30am to 11:30am. His speech will focus on Inveneo’s work around the world and how building local capacity is vitally important in all ICT projects.
Our Executive Director will be joined by fellow panel participants Rev. Neelley Hicks, the Assistant Director of United Methodist Communications, and Wayan Vota, former Inveneo staff member and now Senior Mobile Advisor for FHI360.
If you would like to participate in the conference please click here. For updates be sure to follow Bruce Baikie or Inveneo on Twitter.
- Posted by Aaron Mason on September 12, 2013 in the categories: News, Uncategorized
Delivering sustainable computing and wireless connectivity is at the heart of Inveneo’s mission. Our belief is that technology can fundamentally transform the way a community engages with the world and pursues economic opportunities. Our commitment to this belief has brought us through designing and manufacturing sustainable hardware, serving rural organizations and building partnerships with local ICT entrepreneurs. The results have spanned from placing solar powered computer labs in thousands of schools to deploying large-scale broadband networks for healthcare, economic development and relief.
Earlier this year we revisited our strategy and began to make a few significant changes. We moved away from building and selling our own equipment to focused on identifying and sharing the best equipment and software solutions for education and connectivity. Now, nine months later, we’re using what we’ve learned to make a few more changes to our model, intensifying our focus on technology and connectivity for education and spinning part of our broadband connectivity team off into an independent venture.
Sharpening our Focus on Education
Education is going through a technological revolution on a global scale. With equipment costs plummeting, low-power device options multiplying, and with content and online education availability increasing rapidly, the potential for vibrant, sustainable models for technology in underserved schools is finally emerging.
At Inveneo we believe that this shift in the development landscape makes education the single most important place for our technology and expertise to focus. With recent large-scale education projects in Haiti, Tanzania, Uganda, and smaller projects in many more countries, we’re focusing on how to scale rollouts of computing and tablets to maximize sustainability and development impact with education partner experts. Our education technology solutions encompass all of the things we do best – low power computing, power systems, robust networks, management software and very importantly local partners to design, deploy and support the systems. We’re making education top priority moving forward. Our local partnerships are fundamental to Inveneo’s vision and approach, and we look forward to continuing our work with you, our partners, on implementation, support and maintenance, and business development.
Spinning Off Broadband
Another key decision is to spin out a new entity focused on accelerating access to broadband in emerging markets. Almost two years ago Inveneo launched our Broadband for Good (BB4G) initiative to determine how to drive critically needed broadband access by deploying cutting-edge broadband technology and new partner delivery models in developing countries. The BB4G initiative allowed Inveneo to explore the needs of countries, carriers and governments around the world and to deliver high quality, cost effective network models with local partners. This includes our Haiti network used by two major telecoms and covering a quarter of the country, as well as networks serving three education programs across the West Bank of Palestine and connecting islands and schools in the South Pacific. However one thing we’ve learned is that broadband, in a not-for-profit setting, is best suited for project-specific implementations. Inveneo will continue to deliver broadband projects for education.
However, the more we understood the vast need for broadband in the countries where we work, the more we realized that deploying project-based broadband networks, while highly impactful, would not deliver broadband at the same speed as a for-profit model.
Inveneo is proud to introduce Volo, Inveneo’s first spin-off, which will center its efforts on broadband services for emerging markets.
Volo’s goal is to deliver broadband in emerging markets around the world. Using our experiences during BB4G, the new Volo team will be working to provide connectivity using cutting-edge technology and a network of partners. Mark Summer and Kristin Peterson will head the new Volo team, however they will continue to serve on the Inveneo board and support our efforts.
What this Means for Inveneo and You
Refocusing our efforts and modifying our team will of course have an impact on Inveneo, as we are an exceptionally close-knit organization. There have been a few additional staffing changes, including the announcement of Bruce Baikie as Inveneo’s new Executive Director.
We want to make sure that you understand that while we’re excited to make our internal changes, these changes will not affect our current projects. We’re excited to have the opportunity to use technology to serve the communities we work in, and we aim to continue this as we push forward. We believe that this new focus will help us grow even faster, allowing us to help even more communities around the world.
We hope that as part of the Inveneo family you’re as excited as we are about these changes. Thank you for all the support you’ve given us over the past eight years, and we look forward to eight more!
The Inveneo Team
For questions please contact either our partner manager FJ Cava at firstname.lastname@example.org or executive director Bruce Baikie at email@example.com.
- Posted by Inveneo on May 8, 2013 in the categories: News
Mevaly Tokyo, 10, and Lima Souneng, 16, at the UFO school on Fefan. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
The tropical islands of Chuuk, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, remain largely disconnected from the Internet. More than an hour flight from Guam and over 3,400 miles (5,400 km) from Hawaii, most of the islands in Chuuk are isolated in a way that is hard to envision. While the main island of Weno (pronounced Wena) has a population of almost 14,000 and basic Internet access, most of the surrounding islands have only 350 to 4,000 people per island, limited cell phone service and are accessible only by boat. Students on the islands may have seen people use computers and the Internet on television but most of them have never actually touched one or been online.
“A few [students], maybe 1%, have ever used computers, but most have not seen them,” one teacher on the island of Eot said.
“We often work in areas with limited internet access, but the environment in Chuuk poses very unique challenges to improving connectivity,” said Andris Bjornson, Inveneo’s CTO. “I’ve rarely seen anything like it.”
In late March Bjornson travelled with Bruce Baikie and Prairie Summer to Chuuk to conduct a site survey and local partner training as part of phase two of the Pacific Islands Schools, Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project. PISCES is a multi-stakeholder initiative to demonstrate how low cost wireless networking and solar-powered computing infrastructure can be scaled to serve educational professionals and students across the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and similar remote island settings. PISCES I, the first phase of the project, was implemented in 2012 and demonstrated that alternative, low-cost wireless networking and solar-powered computing infrastructure offer reliable and affordable computing and connectivity options for many remote and off-grid schools.
The goal of this second phase (PISCES II) is to identify, connect and equip at least three schools on these remote islands, strengthen the local ICT capacity and increase digital literacy among teachers.
K-8 School on Tsis, which has 87 kids, 5 teachers and no computers or internet access. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
For this project Inveneo’s team focused in on building the capacity of our local partner iSolutions and members of the local telecom to conduct site surveys, design wireless networks and install long-distance wireless links. Dr. Laura Hosman from Inveneo partner Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) was also present, following up on the 6 low-power, ruggedized computers that were deployed in PISCES I on the island of Udot and assessing lessons learned during the first phase. Dr. Hosman also gathered data to inform the design of trainings for teachers on computer skills and the deployment of additional computers in the new locations.
Chuuk Lagoon with pins showing survey locations. The pieced-together nature of Google’s area maps highlights the remote nature of the islands.
With the ambitious goal of conducting site survey training, six site surveys on six islands and installing one point-to-point link, the week was packed and the team was at the mercy of the weather. The heat, humidity, heavy rainfall (almost 200 inches per year) and unique challenges of making long-distance wireless links work over water make this equatorial island nation a difficult environment. Most of the smaller islands have no electricity and the vegetation is thick.
Operations began with Bjornson conducting a full day of training with three iSolutions staff and two members of FSM Telecom followed by guided site surveys. These guided surveys allowed trainees to test their new skills while gathering valuable data necessary to design the wireless links.
The training started with an in-depth session on the connection between tower equipment and a computer lab. Classroom time was balanced by hands-on training and exercises with the team conducting test surveys at various locations on Weno. In addition to learning many of the standard survey tools (including GPS and compass basics), the team also tested Inveneo’s new Smartphone-based Android application for conducting site surveys. The group of workshop participants from both iSolutions and Telcom FSM are the first worldwide to use this new tool, integrating survey-specific GPS, camera, and note-taking capabilities into one convenient handheld device. Previously an engineer needed to bring an individual compass, GPS unit, camera, paper and pencil to collect all of the data. These Google-donated Android phones use a combination of services including Formhub and odkcollect to make site surveys faster and more accurate.
Bjornson leads the classroom portion of our local partner training program. Photo: Laura Hosman
Bjornson training local engineers to perform site surveys. Photos: Laura Hosman
With the training complete the team headed out to the surrounding islands to begin the site surveys. Heavy rain poured during the first three days, but not enough to stop the team from boating out to surveying the first three islands. When the rains let up the sun emerged giving the Inveneo team the opportunity to experience the full spectrum of weather challenges. From torrential rains to blazing sun, each day added to the understanding of what networks need to endure to function in Chuuk. Site visits to Romanum, Udot and Eot islands were completed via boat in one day despite constant rainfall. The islands of Fefan, Tsis and Tonoas were surveyed on the following day.
Left: Bjornson, Balkie, Dr. Laura Hosman from IIT and the trainees from iSolutions and FSM Telecom boarding the boat on Udot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: Bjornson and TR from local partner iSolutions conducting a site survey on Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Left: Site sketch in Bjornson’s notebook of Romanum. Photo: Andris Bjornson / Inveneo Right: GR from iSolutions taking measurements at Romanum. Photo: Prairie Summer / Inveneo
Baikie surveys a potential computer lab site at Romanum School. Photo: Laura Hosman
Bjornson, Summer and Baikie discover a few of the different ways that getting around in Micronesia can be a wet affair. Photos: Laura Hosman
While each school and site has unique assets and challenges, all six of the locations surveyed are viable potential link locations. Many of the schools are conveniently located on the edge of the islands, clear of the dense vegetation that covers most of the islands, and even at the schools farther inland feasible locations were identified. This is exciting news for the PISCES team and the schools who will benefit from the link when it’s established.
“What we are doing now is we are trying to improve our students’ performance, and it would be good to search what other schools are doing…on the curriculum and find ways to improve our teaching,” Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot said. Her school does not have enough books and resources and she believes having Internet access could make all the difference – providing her and the other teachers a source for new lesson plans and ideas and introducing the students to new and foreign things.
Nancy Seymour, principal and 1st-2nd grade teacher on Eot. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
At every school the team visited there was a keen interest in connectivity and a universal belief that technology would make an impact on the quality of education. In addition to the academic potential, every single student and teacher indicated that they had family living either on other islands or abroad, and there was a great deal of excitement around the potential for communication with loved ones.
With the site surveys completed, the next focus was to establish a long distance wireless link from the main island of Weno to the school on Udot. This link, temporarily established during PISCES I, needed to be moved to a more permanent location and the team had received permission from FSM Telecom to place the link on the telecom’s existing tower.
This new position, higher on the island, allows for a stronger connection and will be the point that all six of the surveyed islands will link to when the project is completed. To install this long-distance link half of the team went to the tower on Weno and the other half to the site on Udot, coordinating via radios and cell phones. First the Udot team installed a small link on the side of the school. On Weno, the team put together a small dish, then mounted it on the tower and pointed it toward Udot. The positioning is critical and must be painstakingly adjusted to the most accurate position possible. Access to the tower was provided by FSM Telecom, which has a strong relationship with iSolutions. Inveneo has found through past experience that strong collaboration with the local telecommunications provider can be a powerful tool in creating sustainable projects.
Mangoki Shirai assembles dish for the long-distance link from Weno to Udot, then climbs the FSM Telecom tower on Weno to install the link. Photos: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
View of Udot from the base of the tower on Weno. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
Left: Team putting together the dish on Udot for the link to Weno. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT Right: Installing the link on top of the school on Udot. Photo: Laura Hosman/IIT
The team on Udot then adjusted the link on their end and the connection was established! Both the FSM Telecom and iSolutions teams did an incredible job.
With the training completed and the first link established, and data gathered for five additional sites to be linked as soon as the funding is secured, PISCES II has the potential to provide unprecedented levels of connectivity and access to schools and communities throughout Chuuk. The project has also gained support and interest from the FSM Department of Education.
In addition to improving the educational resources and access to information, every single student, teacher and administrator the team met on this trip said they have family on other islands or in other countries. With this long-distance wireless network in place they will all have new ways to communicate with their loved ones in other places, and that may be the best motivation to learn of all.
If additional support for this project can be secured, the Inveneo team plans to return and install links to the remaining five sites in the summer of 2013.
Left: View of the tower on Weno from the boat. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo Right: View of the boat on Tsis. Photo: Prairie Summer/Inveneo
The PISCES Project has received funding support from Google, the Pacific Telecommunications Council, and the Internet Society. PISCES Project partners include: Inveneo, the University of Guam, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) Organization, Green WiFi, iSolutions, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, the University of California, Berkeley’s TIER research group, FSM Department of Education, FSM DTC&I.
- Posted by Inveneo on July 31, 2012 in the categories: News, Projects, Relief
Late in 2011, Inveneo partnered with Green WiFi and the Illinois Institute of Technology to bring WiFi to a semi-rural school in Lascahobas, Haiti. The team wanted to use the most effective technology but was concerned with the hassles in setting up a shared, wireless WiFi network, which include:
- The need to change passwords frequently (which take extra steps and time)
- The inability to automatically add MAC addresses onto systems
- Users unable to seamlessly roam from one access point (AP) to the next
- Administrators unable to manage all the APs from one location
- The need for multitude of cables and AC power outlets for all those Aps
Installing a Unifi access point
Inveneo learned of Ubiquiti Unifi, a WiFi system combining carrier class performance, unlimited scalability, and a virtual management controller all at disruptively low pricing. Inveneo wanted to test it and soon installed Unifi devices at mission*social, a shared workspace in California.
The results came in and Inveneo realized that it was stable and usable. Also, users were able to roam through the space and seamlessly connect from one access point to another without disruption. After Inveneo knew that it worked and was excited about the results, the next step was to install Unifi in Haiti.
At the Haitian school École Fondamentale d’Application Centre d’Appui Pédagogique (EFACAP), Unifi was installed by a partner team of Green WiFi, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Inveneo to ensure that students would have Internet. The Internet backhaul was created by establishing a long-distance link that connected the EFACAP school to a communications tower located in the nearby town, Lascahobas.
Bruce Baikie, Senior Director of Inveneo and President of Green WiFi, provided technical advice to the team throughout the process. Additionally, classes were provided for local technicians to ensure the WiFi connection would have local support and long-term maintenance. With the successful Unifi installation, the school’s 400 laptops can give students access to online educational resources.
- Posted by Inveneo on February 15, 2012 in the categories: News
Inveneo is growing. Every year we’re increasing our impact, our programs, and our team, and 2012 is no exception. We’re proud to announce that we’ve added two key staff to help us expand and manage our growth.
First, our organization is growing fast – we project that our program and project volume will double over the next two years. As a result, we are scaling our organization and control systems under the leadership of Lisa Lin, our new Chief Operations Officer.
Lisa is an e-commerce entrepreneur-turned-international development practitioner. Through her work for the U.S Department of Justice and Department of State, she developed specializations in global operations, economic development, Rule of Law, and Science & Technology capacity building. She’ll be calling on that experience to construct processes and capabilities to take Inveneo to the next level.
We’ve also brought on Bruce Baikie to accelerate our Broadband for Good™ program. Bruce brings extensive experience in the energy and telecom industries having worked for 17 years at Sun Microsystems as a telecom industry expert. He also started Green WiFi to engineer and implement solar powered broadband and school based ICT4D projects in West Africa, Haiti, and the South Pacific. He’ll be using that experience as Senior Director, Broadband Initiatives to identify and to launch multiple broadband demonstration projects in 2012.
Please join us in welcoming Lisa and Bruce to the Inveneo family – we’re glad they’re here.