Vodafone mUtilities is a design lab program supported by Ashesi University, for the purpose of helping customers with their utility concerns. The project started in the early month of June. And the main aim was to help customers manage their utility expenditure through a mobile platform. This project resulted from the customer complaints and difficulties with electricity tariffs at the time.
A meeting was arranged with Chief Information Officer of Vodafone, a leading telecom company to see what they expected from such a solution. Insights gained from the interview were included in the notes for secondary research. Secondary research was undertaken with the aim of identifying what practical solutions would be within our means to implement when solving the problem in the prototype stage.
The second part of Design thinking involved research and understanding the problem. The problem statement agreed on by the mUtilities team was; Customer difficulty in managing utility expenditure. Primary research involved a sample size of forty four. This involved domestic customers, small business owners, an electricity vendor and an ECG employee.
The methodology in question was interviewing. Customers were asked about their grievances in relation to utilities. Research showed that although both water and electricity tariffs had been increased, people only complained about electricity. Also, prepaid users were more likely to have complaints than postpaid users. This narrowed the problem to electricity and a solution was being prepared.
From the brainstorming session; a home management system was selected. The following are models from which our prototype could be designed;
- Neurio Home Management System
- Samsung home management system
- TED Pro electricity monitor
- Do It Yourself Home Energy Monitor
- Controlling Appliances over WIFI and Ethernet
The next step would have been customer validation. However due to a lack of time that has been postponed until further notice. The customers for customer validation stage will be selected from the sample size; comprising of domestic and business customers. And over a period of time comments will be recorded and the solution improved until it satisfies customers.
- Joshua Mensah
- Edwin Adatsi
- Dorcas Maku Tamartey
- Claude-Noel Tamakloe
- Kelvin Degbotse