ZeroXess: an Ambitious New All-In-One Solution to Energy Poverty and the Digital Divide

ZeroXess is a new solar-powered, all-in-one hub for off-grid communities, packing a huge variety of technologies into one ambitious package.

Author Tristan Rayner, 04.11.18

ZeroXess is a new solar-powered, all-in-one hub for off-grid communities, packing a huge variety of technologies into one ambitious package.

This new connectivity hub is an initiative from Kumbaya, a California-based company seeking to bring power and connectivity to low and off-grid communities. With more than 1.2 billion people currently unable to access reliable or regular electricity and 4 billion unable to get online, the zeroXess is a unique attempt to reach these underserved people, often located in sub-Saharan regions, whose lack of access to power and communication technologies means they are often cut off from a range of educational, health and information opportunities.

The device combines a large range of different communication technologies and is self-powered, using 120W solar panels. The zeroXess is built around a 10-inch LCD screen and 28Ah battery, which drives most core features. It offers one and two-way communications, with a speaker and microphone built in, utilising mobile connectivity (UMTS/LTE), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and/or satellite connectivity to establish a reliable connection, with a slot for SIM cards too.

With the supplied solar power and storage, the system can deliver power on demand to four LED light fixtures, and has six USB ports to power devices such as mobile phones or medical devices. The system also has AM/FM radio capabilities, and even a TV antenna for local broadcasts for news, information, and entertainment. There’s also a built-in content library, which provides lessons on topics across entrepreneurship, literacy, nutrition, and agriculture.

The system even has built-in sensors to monitor temperatures, humidity, carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide hazards, and particulate matter to deliver health warnings, and even allows access to non-invasive eHealth monitoring devices and point-of-care decision support.

It’s incredibly ambitious device, attempting a huge range of different features and functionality to be truly all-in-one for communications. All of this is against the background of the overwhelming need to make each device as affordable as possible in order for it to even be an option for those who need it most.

Kumbaya launched the device during the Mobile World Congress 2018 and are edging closer towards their product becoming available on market, recently partnering with Dutch semiconductor company NXP to supply the microcontrollers and application processing internals for the devices.

While the final product appears to be some way off, Kumbaya is going full-power at their concept with a team of seven engineers, plus product managers, and it should prove fascinating to see if the product will be able to deliver on their goals.

Poverty Stoplight: Shining a Red, Orange, or Green Light on Family Poverty Status

Poverty Stoplight is tackling one of the UN's key global goals: what "poverty" actually means, and what concrete actions can be taken to fight it.

This Young Syrian Has Invented a Way for People to Stay Connected During Internet Blackouts

In areas where the internet doesn't reach, or where access has been cut off, FreeCom makes it possible to send and receive crucial messages.

Trine’s Crowd Investing in Solar Projects Helps Tackle Global Energy Poverty

Crowd investing platform Trine lets people invest small amounts of money in solar energy systems for off-grid communities. Successful projects mean a return on your investment, and people around the world gaining access to clean electricity.

ColdHubs: Solar Fridges for Off-Grid Communities in Nigeria

In many developing countries, huge amounts of food goes to waste simply because of a lack of cold storage options. ColdHubs has come up with a solution to Nigeria's food waste problem, with an innovative refrigeration system powered by the sun.

Me SOLshare Ltd.
SOLshare: Peer-to-Peer Solar Energy for the Neighbourhood

The social startup SOLshare gives people in rural areas of Bangladesh access to energy that's both cheap and clean - and also supplies them with an extra source of income.

Mobile Technology and Sustainable Development

With mobile devices becoming cheaper and network coverage growing stronger, the uptake of mobile technology is still on an upward swing. Given the ubiquity of mobile phones and their use among a broad cross-section of the global population, many creative thinkers are harnessing the potential of mobile technology to bridge knowledge gaps, alleviate poverty and help our environment.