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Token Administration Platform (TAP)

TAP e-voucher Platform Service Description

Secure e-Goods Delivery Even Beyond the Reach of Mobile Networks

Abstract

Consult Hyperion specified, developed and operated the Token Administration Platform (TAP) for the registration of customers in remote rural areas, for the purpose of delivery of e-vouchers to farmers, who were able to redeem them at TAP-enabled offline retailers for subsidies for fertiliser and other agricultural inputs.

During the 6-month pilot, we registered in excess of 500,000 farmers, and around 80% of the registered farmers used 1.2 million vouchers issued to them by the TAP service, with the total subsidy delivered in excess of US$19 million. At its peak, TAP was registering more than 10,000 farmers per day.

Background

Operated by the Nigerian Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) delivers vouchers to subsistence farmers. These vouchers are used to subsidise the cost of agricultural inputs. Where possible they are delivered by mobile phone. However because of the lack of mobile network coverage and the limited number of farmers who own their own mobile devices, the scheme is forced to rely on paper records which are subsequently manually transposed to the scheme database.

Consult Hyperion and AFAP (African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership) were commissioned by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) to review the technical and operational aspects of the GES service, respectively.

Our Approach

Consult Hyperion proposed the TAP service concept whilst performing an assessment of the operation and security of the infrastructure supporting GES. With the aid of a proof of concept demonstrator we were able to show how significant improvements could be made to the process of identifying and registering farmers, managing farmer data and delivering e-vouchers in rural areas with limited connectivity.

We were subsequently commissioned to develop and operate a large scale pilot of the TAP service with very demanding timescales. The service was required to be delivered in a matter of months to be operational in time for the start of the planting season.

In the short time available, we designed and delivered a service that was lightweight but highly scalable through a unique combination of cloud services, mobile applications, contactless cards and Consult Hyperion-designed people-powered mesh networking. This allowed the service to be rolled out rapidly even into areas with no connectivity.

The service consisted of two key functions which were both delivered using simple and intuitive applications running on NFC-enabled Android tablets with data being replicated to the cloud, as follows:

• “Enumeration” provided an efficient way to enrol farmers, collect their identity information and issue them with a contactless card

• “Redemption” allowed those farmers to use their contactless card to identify themselves and redeem e-vouchers when purchasing fertilizer or seed from an agro dealer.

The service was operated successfully for 6 months, during which numerous enhancements were made as we responded to the ongoing findings of the pilot.

TAP attracted a great deal of positive press coverage in both Nigeria and beyond (including being featured on the BBC’s “Tech Tent” programme), and was endorsed by the Honourable Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

Why Consult Hyperion?

Analysis of the operational and technical effectiveness of existing services is a core skill for Consult Hyperion, and one which was used very effectively in the early stages of this project.

Once the analysis results were in place, we were able to bring to bear our unique combination of a deep understanding of secure transactional technologies and substantial experience of the operational realities of service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural areas with little or no mobile phone coverage. This allowed us to put together a combination of different technologies and processes which would together address the shortcomings identified by our analysis of the previous incarnations of the service.

Our subsequent operation of the pilot and comprehensive support of field staff demonstrated our commitment to our client’s objectives and our flexibility in delivery.

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About Our Customer

Our principal customer for this project was DFID, though we were also reporting to FMARD. Both were highly motivated to improve the delivery of vouchers, their redemption by farmers and the subsequent reconciliation, and backed the TAP solution as the best means of achieving those ends, an endorsement that was borne out by the results of the pilot.

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Keywords: Token Administration Platform, TAP, GES, Nigeria, Financial Inclusion, Vouchers, e-Vouchers

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