Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Pilot and Quality Control

Part of my work has been being in the field and servicing the Pay-As-You-Go kits that are being used in the pilot. One of the lessons that I have learned is that it does not pay to cut corners with product testing as the pilot will become null if the product is not performing well. A lack of testing on the pilot kits has led the batteries to be drawn down at a rate much higher than expected. This is because the keypad and LCD screen use a lot more energy than predicted in the original design specifications.

Because of this defect, many of the systems have needed intense service. By intense service, I mean walking a half hour between homes. In addition, it was not explained very clearly that the kits could not be opened, so the community leader, who was our primary contact, told clients they could open their kits and try and rig the system. I have seen more and more that Guatemalans are so used to the informal economy that they easily believe that they can take apart systems. This was another example of poor community leadership and contacts in communities.