#UNCityzens: Combining tech skills with passion for development

Meet Elias Edo, who after interning in the UNDP’s Information and Management Technology, Global ICT Advisory (UNDP/IMT/GIA) Unit now works fulltime on the project of OneICTBox, allowing him to merge a passion for development with his technological background.


From tech studies to development work

Elias comes from Ethiopia, which he left after his bachelor studies to pursue a master of computer science in Malmö, Sweden.  Elias has always had a strong interest for development, which he has been able to combine with tech-oriented studies and work.


Conventional Data Centre

As part of his master thesis, Elias developed an app for mobile phones to enable farmers in developing countries to monitor their agricultural information. Doing the project, Elias realized he needed to develop his skills if he was to carry it out. Hence, he enrolled for another masters program on Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) at Stockholm University. To complete the program he needed an internship.

Elias turned towards the UNDP/IMT/GIA Unit in UN City, which he regarded as the perfect place to combine his skills within technology with his strong interest for development. After completing a six-month internship here, he got the opportunity to stay and continue working with the project of OneICTBox.


Office in a box: a data centre for 1,000 people 


New System: OneICTBox

OneICTBox stands for One Information and Communication Technology Box and is based on the idea of “office in a box”. The box is the size of a big moving box and works as a data centre with capacity to support up to 1,000 people with satellite connection, wired and wireless internet together with phone connection.

The first box was developed in 2013 and is innovative as it is more effective and has a higher user mobility than traditional solutions. It consumes 80 per cent less power, making it correlate with UNDP’s corporate mission of reducing energy footprints. The box takes up to 75 per cent less physical space compared to traditional data centres, and is on wheels making it easy to move. Furthermore, it is simple to fix and maintain as the data are saved in a cloud system.


From Copenhagen and out to the world 

The OneICTBox is today in use in UNDP’s country offices in Turkey, Jordan, Argentina, Brazil, Guinea, Tanzania and Lesotho. In scenarios where UNDP offices are relocating, upgrading their ICT infrastructure, or when in disaster or crisis situations the Copenhagen office is notified so the OneICTBox can be introduced.

When Elias’ department gets a request for the OneICTBox he and his colleagues contact local vendors who provide all the necessary equipment, which is delivered to UN City. In the basement of UN City, Elias will then assemble the technological gear into the OneICTBox. After configuring it in the office, the box is ready to be shipped off to its destination. The Copenhagen staff provides long distance support and maintenance through the cloud-based system no matter where the box is in the world.

The goal of UNDP GIA is to implement the OneICTBox globally and make it a UNDP standard system. Elias is working on it full time allowing him to develop his skills, which he will continue to combine with development work.


You can learn more about OneICTBox through this video.

         OneICTbox solution highlights

  • Optimized connectivity – Bandwidth saving and better performance in a saturated link
  • Turnkey – Allows quick deployment with minimal adjustments required to meet local environment
  • Hardware scalability – Hardware is scalable to serve up to 1000 users
  • Ease of transportation – Mounting of equipment in the rack is secure and allows easy transportation
  • Information security – Physical security for all equipment, particularly active equipment
  • Server virtualization – Cost less than 5 servers
  • Green ICT – Energy friendly and environment friendly
  • Less hardware footprint – The least number of hardware devices, including rack space for local ISP CPE
  • Standard implementation – Across offices with high level of simplicity
  • Resilience and disaster recovery – Fail over in case of hardware failure and configuration files uploaded in the cloud

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