Transformer Spotlight: Ian Murphy, Pale Blue Group


06.03.2019


This week we’re featuring the work of Ian Murphy, CEO of Pale Blue Group. With experience in mobile financial services and a radio communications engineer by trade, Ian’s business aims to “connect the un-connected in a sustainable manner”. Pale Blue Group focuses on improving communication systems in the developing world by providing satellite connectivity to the communities that need it most. Their mission is to provide free basic services and low-cost connectivity to everyone, everywhere. 


Please can you tell us about your work?


What if every health centre had free basic services and low-cost broadband for connecting with experts? What if every school had free Wi-Fi so students and teachers had all the world’s knowledge available to them? These are the questions we’re trying to address with Pale Blue Group’s project for the Transform Fund. We’re bringing satellite connectivity into rural communities with a population of 5,000 people or less where there is poor cellular coverage and little or no financial infrastructure. 


This is done by placing a satellite terminal in the middle of the community at somewhere like a school, community centre or post office. This terminal is then able to provide connectivity to local businesses and homes via either Wi-Fi or cellular services. We also provide a local server for local information e.g. health and education information, as well as media. 


We then provide a mobile financial services platform that allows people to complete transactions via a mobile device such that they can collect social payments and pensions etc. It also enables e-commerce, as people are able to pay for utilities and purchase and sell online. We are combining connectivity with financial technology to enable free basic and secure digital services. 


How is Engage and the Transform Fund going to help you achieve your ambitions? 


Engage and the Transform Fund will enable us to pilot these services and help raise our profile, which in turn will help with our visibility and, also, our ability to attract additional funding, helping more people. 


Which Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) does your work support the most?


We will support the reduction of poverty, SDG1, and the improvement of health and well-being SDG3 by providing health centres with connectivity services for connecting experts, tracking deliveries and paying for supplies. We will also help to improve the quality of education SDG4 by ensuring every school has free Wi-Fi and provide an environment for work and economic growth, SDG8 by every community having broadband access, mobile connectivity and relevant services to allow its full participation in the global economy. 


Why do you think it’s important to support the SDGs?


It is important to support these SDGs as a means to improve the lives of many and help improve the sustainability of the planet’s environment.


What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business to make a difference in today’s world? 


Keep going when things don’t turn out as you planned and you get knocked back; learn from that, pick yourself back up. 


And finally, what was the last book you read and why? 


Being dyslexic I find it hard to read so I restrict my reading to technical journals and papers. I’ve been reading an article on biomass and the use of crop by-products for the generation of bio-ethanol as a method to reduce the level of emissions from the use of fossil fuels. Why? Any method to make energy renewable needs to be considered before it’s too late.


Learn more about Pale Blue Group on their website.

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