PayGo Energy

PayGo Energy, a tech-savvy distributor of cooking gas in Kenya, first contacted us while looking for engineers to debug their React Native application. After fixing errors in the code, the client offered us work to further develop the project’s front-end.

paygo dashboard

Client’s Background

The founders of PayGo Energy previously worked in the Kenyan utility sector where they observed first hand how the pay-as-you-go business models were being applied to reduce consumer cost of electricity. Our client also noticed that people living in informal settlements in Nairobi spent more money on charcoal, kerosene, and other dirty fuels than they would have spent on gas. Combined, these findings laid the foundation for a tech startup.

Launched in 2015 as a self-funded business, PayGo Energy has evolved into a  mature company engaged in pay-as-you-go distribution of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This cost-effective approach unlocks access to LPG for millions of households in East Africa. The company expands the adoption of clean cooking fuel, installing and servicing smart meters that fit any LPG cylinder. When a low fuel level is detected, the meter notifies customers that the cylinder needs to be replaced.

paygo energy logo

The challenge

PayGo Energy cylinder smart meters are equipped with NFC for short range wireless data exchange. Our task was to embed this functionality into the mobile app so it could send commands to the meter and receive information about their execution. Further fine-tuning of wireless transactions was performed in close cooperation with designers of its hardware and firmware.

Importance

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly three billion people cook over open fires or simple stones, using biomass, wood, kerosene, and coal. These cooking practices cause household air pollution, consequently inducing serious diseases, including pneumonia,  lung cancer, stroke, and ischemic heart disease. One hour spent cooking over an open fire is equivalent to smoking of an estimated 400 cigarettes.

The gravity of the problem didn’t go unnoticed by the United Nations (UN). In 2010, the world’s largest intergovernmental organization created the Clean Cooking Alliance and at the end of 2017, set a goal to achieve the universal adoption of clean cooking by 2030.

Most of the potential consumers for clean fuel live in emerging markets. Large-scale transition to cost-effective LPG will preserve their health, reduce the ecological footprint, and create multi-billion dollar business opportunities.

clean cooking lpg smart meter

Our Approach

Improve the existing code

At the initial stage of our collaboration with PayGo Energy, our developers were engaged in writing React Native code to fix minor bugs. Later, when DA-14 Corp became a part of the distributed development team, we integrated Redux architecture into the existing code base, making the app easier to debug, test, and maintain.

Adding new functionality

Changes to the app’s architecture simplified the process of adding new features, as well. Among other improvements, we implemented wireless communication functionality, offline support, QR-code scanner, the ability to make direct calls to customers, customer profile tabs, etc.

Daily meetings

The PayGo team holds daily sync-up calls via Skype to discuss current tasks and plan next steps. During business hours, our developer stays in touch with other PayGo team members and uses JIRA to keep track of tasks assigned to DA-14.

The project

PayGo Orders is a React Native mobile app for Android used by managers of PayGo Energy for servicing LPG consumers.

The app supports wireless protocols to exchange data with PayGo cylinder smart meters installed on gas cylinders. The replacement of a cylinder is initiated by a manager through the app. As a result, the manager can turn down the handle on the meter and remove it in order to change the cylinder.

Coupled with cylinder smart meter capabilities, PayGo Orders facilitates the supply of clean LPG and prevents illegal refilling of gas cylinders.

refilling of lpg gas cylinders

Image credit: PayGo Energy

Main Functionality

Sign-in

To sign into the application, a manager needs to have a PayGo Energy account.

paygo energy sign in

Task tracking

The dashboard displays the total number of open and completed tasks along with the completed to open tasks ratio. “My task for today” contains more detailed information about each individual task.

paygo energy task tracking

To-do list

When replacing a cylinder, the manager has to complete a number of operations in a pre-defined sequence. “Cylinder exchange” is a convenient checklist to guarantee step-by-step completion of every required procedure.

paygo energy cylinder exchange

 

Involvement

Duration: June 2018 - ongoing

Team:

  • front-end developers

Contract type: Dedicated development team

Project investment:  $10,000 to $49,999

Technologies & Integrations:

  • React Native
  • react-native-offline
  • react-native-nfc-manager
  • react-native-qrcode-scanner
  • react-native-material-ui
  • Redux
  • Redux Saga
  • Redux Persist

Project type: Field service app for Android

Industry: Oil & Energy

Country: Kenya

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