VIDA - Village Data Analytics Actionable data intelligence for frontier markets

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Objectives of the service

VIDA catalyses large-scale investment into frontier markets in Africa and Asia to meet global development goals, impacting 2 billion people. VIDA helps policy-makers, businesses, and financiers to more effectively operate in the village economies of frontier markets. VIDA is currently used for off-grid electrification and provides value for several actors.

VIDA uses the best available earth observation, data analytical and modelling technology. As these technologies are rapidly expanding in scope and capabilities, VIDA makes sure to incorporate these developments. Our team understands the landscape of data sources, can validate their utility and knows how to make them relevant to frontier markets.

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Users and their needs

VIDA for donors and governments

Off-grid energy planners need to make data-driven decisions on where to extend the grid and where to prioritize off-grid markets for mini-grids and solar-home systems. They need to prepare tender processes, monitor electrification progress and provide adjusted subsidies. VIDA can: 

  • Be integrated into least-cost electrification planning
  • Help governments develop targeted, result-based subsidy programs
  • Accelerate and improve site selection for mini-grid tendering processes            
  • Perform indicative impact monitoring
  • VIDA’s interactive user interface can support ongoing planning decision-making

VIDA for mini-grid developers

VIDA can help mini-grid developers scale their project pipeline and attract investment by providing a short-list of viable villages within an area of interest, leading to targeted on-ground site selection surveys and reduction of project development time and cost. The VIDA analysis can strengthen mini-grid developers’ investor interactions by providing independent, additional, visual layers of analysis. VIDA:            

  • Provides a decision-making tool for rapid site identification                               
  • Assesses energy demand and evaluates environmental risks                           
  • Identifies opportunities for productive uses to improve the electrification business case 
  • Performs analyses of clusters of sites that can be developed together
  • Reduces transaction costs and investment risk, and helps create investment opportunities at a size attractive to private investors.

VIDA for solar home systems companies     

VIDA can help solar home system companies plan profitable growth into new sales regions, plan for logistics, find sales partners, and provide inputs for credit risk assessments. VIDA:

  • Provides market intelligence on expansion markets, helping direct sales efforts (leads and lead conversion rates)
  • Identifies underserved areas within existing, successful markets                                  
  • Helps in the planning of new retail stores, based on expected demand
  • Adds a geographic layer to customer credit analysis by correlating customer information with information about the customer’s context 

Service/ system concept

VIDA extracts characteristics about each village within the user’s area of interest (AOI). These characteristics include demographics, existing infrastructure, agricultural and other environmental characteristics. The AOI can cover a whole country or a specific, smaller area. The baseline analysis includes earth observation data from the Copernicus fleet. VHR imagery as well as a set of on-ground data such as survey and IoT data from existing mini-grids are then combined to provide a more granular profile of each village. As a platform, VIDA processes regularly updated EO and on-ground data. As such, each village can be tracked over time.

Space Added Value

It is the rapidly expanding scale and update frequency of satellite imagery as well as the fast pace of machine learning techniques that allows VIDA to characterize villages spread across whole countries.

VIDA uses Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 imagery, as well as layers derived from very high resolution (VHR) imagery.

Current Status

We are working on first paid VIDA projects in a number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the same time, we are productifying the VIDA service as a platform. We already work with a number of users to validate VIDA and expand its capabilities. 

Status Date

Updated: 08 January 2021 - Created: 07 January 2021