Managing Devices at Scale for Mobile Data Collection Program

Key learnings from managing thousands of devices in a large-scale mobile health project

Why did we create the Managing Devices at Scale eBook?

As part of a large-scale mobile health project in India, the Dimagi team helped equip over 50,000 community health workers with CommCare applications, downloaded on Android smartphones. This project, which is one of the largest mobile health interventions in the world, presented our team with many new challenges and opportunities.

One hurdle in dealing with a project of this size is device management. On this particular project, Dimagi and its implementation partners were responsible for the procurement, testing, setup, distribution, and management of all 50,000 devices. This was no easy feat.

As more mHealth projects around the world look to scale, we want to share what we learned to help other organizations avoid pitfalls and ensure success in this important — and somewhat tedious — process.

What will you learn from reading this eBook?

This eBook looks back at our key learnings for managing devices at scale, from selection all the way to delivery. In each of the following steps of this process we outline the necessary steps to ensuring device management goes smoothly:

  1. 1. Selection and Pre-Installation: To help you choose the correct device and mitigate any mistakes that can happen during pre-installation, check out our learnings from our pre-procurement experience.
  2. 2. Sample Testing: Before choosing a vendor and ordering devices, you want to be sure that what you choose is compatible with the app, and that pre-installation is done correctly. In order to avoid winding up with 50,000 devices pre-installed with unusable apps, read how we go about sample testing.
  3. 3. Quality Check: After your devices pass a sample test, and the vendor is given the go-ahead to deliver devices, what is the best way to undertake a quality check?
  4. 4. Device Setup: Each device will require certain user- or device-specific configurations before considered ready. But how do you get 50,000+ phones setup for a diverse group of users in thousands of remote locations?
  5. 5. Distribution and Management: You are now ready to distribute thousands of devices to the field. But what if a phone is damaged or stolen? Who should a user contact with SIM card issues? How are devices going to be tracked long term? Read how we go about this last step in the device management process.


If your organization is gearing up for a large-scale mobile-based project, don’t miss these key learnings!

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