Case Study: Getting South Africa RICA registered
In 2006 Digital Matter Embedded (DME) and CFS RICA came up with the idea of a rugged, portable data collection terminal that could register customers for various applications. It was decided that a solution would be designed and developed by DME.
The team at DME put their heads together and came up with a robust, waterproof terminal with a QWERTY keyboard that could connect to client’s servers from anywhere in South Africa using the cellular networks. The terminal sported a high-gain antenna for areas where the network might have low coverage and dual-SIM card connectivity so that the strongest signal could be used, and added redundancy for network failure. The terminal also offered an optional GPS, USB expansion port, and many optional peripherals which could be attached to the device.
At the time, RICA legislation had just been introduced, requiring all South Africans to register their telephone numbers against an ID number and proven address. One of the perceived functionalities of the device was that it could be used for RICA registrations, because many of South Africa’s cell phone users live in rural areas without easy access to shops.
The CFS RICA Terminal, as the device came to be known, was developed at just the right time, and has been responsible for the registration of over 31 Million new SIM cards. With more than 30 000 units in the field, it is the solution that has made the RICA registration of South Africa’s population possible, on all of the country’s mobile networks.
Of course, people will continue to buy cell phones, so the CFS RICA Terminals will continue to register new users, but they can also be used for Mpesa money transfer, the purchase of bus tickets, airtime vending, and even FICA registrations.
“This is exactly the kind of product that we get really excited about creating,” says Alex Soldatos, GM at DME. “Because the RICA legislation calls for an electronic and paperless registration process, we were able to apply our minds and come up with a solution which was portable, robust and provided secure real time connectivity to the RICA systems. We designed an entire end to end solution, from electronics design, software and management systems, as well as full integration into all the South African networks”
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