RFP7-14

Request for proposals for the development of a smartphone application to influence consumers’ behavior for product selection under the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s (BEE) Standards and Labeling Program

Introduction

CLASP is an international non-profit organization whose primary objective is to provide technical expertise and assistance to global standards and labeling (S&L) practitioners and policymakers to improve energy efficiency in appliances and equipment. Energy efficiency standards and labels offer significant potential for energy demand reduction and consumer cost savings, reducing risk from energy price changes and providing non-energy benefits including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollutants. 

CLASP envisions a world in which appliances, equipment and lighting are built for maximum energy efficiency and minimal contribution to global climate change. CLASP provides direct technical and programmatic assistance to BEE in their S&L activities on specific products and policies. CLASP is the Operating Agent for the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD)  Initiative[1]. Under the SEAD Initiative, CLASP seeks to contract a qualified Contractor to build and promote a free interactive mobile phone application that will assist consumers in making informed choices for purchasing energy-efficient labeled products.

Further details about the project are provided below, along with instructions for proposal submission. 


[1] The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial is a voluntary multinational collaboration whose primary objective is to advance global market transformation for energy-efficient products. With SEAD, participating governments have access to the resources and technical expertise needed to build and implement cost-effective product efficiency standards and labels and market transformation programs. SEAD participating governments are working together to develop common technical foundations that will enable faster and easier adoption of cost-effective product efficiency policies and programs.


Background

The Government of India enacted the Energy Conservation Act 2001 (EC Act) in August 2001 and established BEE, a statutory body to implement the EC Act. The EC Act identifies Standards & Labeling as one of the major program areas for improving energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, and public sectors. Products covered under the S&L program carry energy labels to help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing energy-consuming products. BEE launched the first voluntary comparative energy label—for frost-free refrigerators—in May 2006. Energy efficiency labels are informative labels that are affixed to manufactured products and describe a product’s performance (usually in the form of energy use, efficiency, or energy cost) to provide consumers with the data necessary for making informed purchases. The labels allow consumers to select efficient appliance models. Labels also provide a common energy efficiency benchmark that makes it easier for governments to offer consumers incentives to buy energy-efficient products. The effectiveness of energy labels is highly dependent on consumers’ awareness of the labels. 

India comparative label

To date, BEE has announced mandatory and voluntary labeling schemes for the following products: 

  • Mandatory labeling: frost-free refrigerators, tubular fluorescent lamps (TFLs), room air conditioners (RACs) and distribution transformers 
  • Voluntary labeling: direct-cool refrigerators, room air conditioners (cassette, tower, and ceiling types), three-phase induction motors, diesel engine driven mono-set pumps for agricultural purposes, agricultural pump sets, ceiling fans, LPG gas stoves, stationary storage-type water heaters, color televisions (CTV), washing machines, ballasts, laptop/notebook computers, and office equipment

 BEE maintains a database of all labeled products. The contents of this database can be viewed through a public web portal (see http://220.156.189.29/Home/Searchcompare). Users can filter on product attributes such as brand name, model number, and star rating, and export the results to a PDF.


Objective

Energy efficiency standards and labels shift appliance, lighting, and equipment markets toward more energy-efficient technologies and simultaneously reduce climate change impacts. The primary objective of this project is to develop a smartphone application (app) that will help consumers make better informed decisions when shopping for appliances.

The app is expected to:

  • Enable consumers to compare models in store on the basis of lifecycle cost and savings versus the baseline product
  • Increase use of the India Star Label to guide consumers’ appliance purchasing decisions
  • Enable consumers to verify the accuracy of the India Star Labels on products in stores
  • Demonstrate an innovative approach to verifying compliance with labeling requirements
  • Strengthen the value proposition for designing product databases and smartphone apps to conform to the SEAD Global Data Framework and Standards for Appliances (GDFSA). (For details, see "Energy Efficiency Data Access Project: Final Report," which can be downloaded from http://www.superefficient.org/dataaccess.)


Scope of Work

The Contractor will be responsible for executing the following tasks as part of the project in close consultation with BEE and CLASP.

The primary task of the Contractor will be to design, develop, and pilot a multi-platform mobile application focused on products under BEE’s S&L scheme. It will also provide additional information on the labeling parameters, life-cycle cost, savings estimate, payback period, etc. The mobile platform will be linked to the existing web-based platform, such as S&L portal of BEE.

The application is expected to meet the following general requirements: 

  • Available on multiple platforms like Windows, iOS, Android, and adheres to user interface guidelines written for those platforms
  • Simple, attractive, user-friendly interface
  • English language interface with the option to later expand to include other languages
  • Can be updated to fix bugs and change features

The application is expected to meet the following specific requirements: 

  • Allows user to instantly compare personalized energy savings across models and recommends more energy-efficient models
  • Allows user to choose specific models and see the lifecycle cost of each
  • Allows user to compare energy efficiency, energy consumption, and operating costs across star levels
  • Uses an application programming interface (API) that conforms to the SEAD GDFSA to retrieve data from the India Star Label database
  • Data pulled into the app from outside sources are updated automatically to reflect changes in those sources
  • Localization of content such as electricity prices
  • Captures user-generated data on product prices, product feedback (ratings/reviews), and notifications of wrongly labeled products and transmits them to a central database
  • Geotagging of data collected from users

Other features may be identified in the initial “ideation” phase of the project.

The app’s success shall be evaluated based on popularity and use, i.e., the number of consumers that download and use the smartphone app to inform their purchasing decisions. CLASP welcomes ideas from Contractor particularly on how to determine whether app users purchase more efficient appliances than do non-users.

The Contractor will be required to develop certain supporting software in addition to the smartphone app itself.

Specifically, the Contractor shall define an API that conforms to the SEAD GDFSA and use that API in the design of the app for retrieving product data from the India Star Label database. Further, the Contractor shall design and build the translation layer between BEE’s database and the API to accommodate any differences between the two. CLASP will work closely with the Contractor on defining the API to maximize the potential for quickly and easily modifying and redeploying the app outside of India.

The Contractor shall also develop tools for collecting, storing, retrieving, and analyzing data generated by app users. Data will include app usage statistics, product feedback/reviews, user reports of mislabeled products, product prices, and purchases, and possibly other types. Product reviews must be available to other app users, while all user-generated data must be accessible to BEE and CLASP for analytical purposes.


Deliverables & Timeline

Expected outputs:

  1. Inception report summarizing the approach and methodology for development of the app including creation of wireframes and detailed description of app features and user interface, including interface for display of featured product data, S&L information, and other features
  2. Development and configuration of an Alpha version of the app focusing on key features
  3. SEAD GDFSA-compliant API
  4. Test plan
  5. Full implementation and delivery of the features and design of the app (Beta version)
  6. Tool for collecting, storing, and analyzing data generated by smartphone app users
  7. Brief document describing how to use the smartphone app and the details of the calculations performed within it
  8. Compiled smartphone app full release executables
  9. Source code for the smartphone app full release

Estimated timeline: 

The time period for completing the whole project covering all activities mentioned in the scope of work is 6 months from the date the contract is awarded. The expected start date of the contract is September 10, 2014.

  • Kick-off meeting: 1 week from the date of contract 
  • Project inception report (including wire-frames): 4 weeks from the kick-off meeting
  • Alpha version: 8 weeks from the project kick-off meeting
  • API and test plan: 14 weeks from the kick-off meeting
  • Beta version: 20 weeks from the project kick-off meeting
  • Full version and all other deliverables: 26 weeks from the kick off meeting

The list of expected outputs and estimated timeline are subject to change. CLASP welcomes proposals that lay out alternative approaches to meeting the project objectives stated above.


Information for Potential Applicants

Companies and organizations that wish to bid on this project must first be registered as a CLASP Implementing Partner. Registering is easy, and can be done via the CLASP website before final submittal.

A committee appointed by CLASP will evaluate proposals received from respondents. Selection of qualified companies or organizations will be based upon the following criteria:

  • Technical Evaluation Factors
  • Cost Evaluation Factors

All bids will be evaluated and ranked using Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS), with 80% of the score accorded to the technical proposal, and 20% to the financial proposal. The detailed evaluation criteria can be found in Annex A. Additional information about CLASP’s selection process is available here.

All questions may be addressed to Archana Walia at awalia@clasponline.org. The last date for submission of questions related to this RFP is August 15, 2014 – 1700 hours (IST). We request all inquiries be made by e-mail and not by phone.


Submittal

Interested parties should submit separate technical and financial proposals as electronic files (preferably in PDF format). The files should be named as follows:

  • [CONTRACTOR_NAME]_TechnicalProposal_RFP7-14
  • [CONTRACTOR_NAME]_FinancialProposal_RFP7-14

The technical proposal should include: 

  • A concept proposal for the app which should describe the app and explain how the proposed approach will result in better delivery of BEE’s S&L mandate (Should not exceed three pages in length).
  • Detailed approach and methodology for the design, implementation, and management of the project. (Should not exceed five pages in length).
  • Detailed timeline for all project activities, tasks, milestones, and deliverables for the project within the timeframe indicated above. 
  • Identification of the team that will execute the project, including an organizational chart and accompanying brief description of key team members clearly stating how they are uniquely suited to this project. CVs and related summaries of experience and qualifications of proposed project team staff should be included in an Annex. (CVs should be a maximum of 1 page in length for each member).
  • Company or organizational profile, including a summary of qualifications relevant to this assignment (Should not exceed three pages in length). Qualifications of the Contractor: 
- The company should have core expertise for technology development with a proven record of innovation in the mobile platform and application field
- The company should have a team of experts that include technology experts and coders, social media experts, and mobile platform innovation experts.
- Preference will be given to companies with an operating office in Delhi NCR, as there will be need for face-to-face meetings with BEE and CLASP in the course of the project.

The financial proposal (in USD) should include:

  • Detailed budget that includes all direct and indirect cost estimates for executing the project, including a breakdown (in days) of the level of effort and costs associated with each team member that will be engaged in the project.

If necessary for the selection process, CLASP may request additional information from any applicant.

All proposals must be submitted electronically by August 22, 2014 via the CLASP website using the “Submit Bid” button above and filling out all the requested information. Any proposal not addressing each of the previously mentioned requirements can be considered non-responsive and rejected without further review. Late proposals will be rejected without being considered. Revisions or additions to the proposal will not be accepted after the due date unless specifically invited by CLASP.



Additional Information

Applicants interested in learning more about the work of CLASP and the SEAD Initiative are encouraged to visit the following websites:


Funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Annex A: Evaluation Criteria

1. Technical Approach (30 points): The technical approach described in the proposals will be evaluated on: 

  • The demonstrated understanding of the overall project context (10).
  • The detailed work plan and approach clearly defining the target objectives and the strategy to achieve the objectives as outlined in the scope of work (20).

2. Management Structure and Staff Qualification (20 points): The proposed management structure and staff will be evaluated on:

  • The professional qualifications and the extent to which the requisite expertise and experience of the key personnel will directly contribute to the completion of the tasks (20).

3. Past Performance, Local Expertise and Corporate Experience (30 points): The experience and capacities of the contractor will be evaluated based on:

  • Past performance, familiarity with Standards & Labeling (S&L) or similar programs, and experience in developing web or mobile based application (10). 
  • Extent of local expertise including experience, qualifications, and track record in implementation of similar programs in India (20). 

4. Cost Evaluation Factors (20 points): While the overall Technical Evaluation is the key factor in reviewing the proposal, the cost evaluation will be an essential factor in determining the final contract award and ability to remain in the competitive range and will be evaluated for feasibility, completeness, and practicality. 



Summary of Bids and Decisions

In keeping with CLASP's commitment to a fair and transparent evaluation of all bids, following is a summary of the bids received under RFP# 7-14, “Request for proposals for the development of a smartphone application to influence consumers’ behavior for product selection under the Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s (BEE) Standards and Labeling Program” as well as the basic rationale for the final selection.

Proposals were evaluated by a five-person evaluation committee according to pre-defined criteria regarding the proposed approach, methodology, project execution plan, extent of experience in developing mobile applications, working with appliance energy efficiency data, and cost projections in accordance with the RFP. Proposals were scored based on a Quality and Cost Based System (QCBS) totaling 100 points, with 80 points allocated to the technical proposal evaluation and 20 points allocated to the financial proposal evaluation according to the criteria provided in Annex A.

This was a competitive solicitation, and technical and financial proposals were received from 11 organizations. Based on the scores of the various proposals, the review committee short-listed three potential bidders. These three firms were invited for a brief presentation and discussion on the key elements of their proposals. Based on this interaction and a competitive financial proposal, the review committee selected Vartulz Technologies Pvt. Ltd. as the project recipient. The review committee found the proposal from Vartulz Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to be more competitive, primarily due to their prior experience in development of mobile application and in depth understanding of the approach and methodology of the proposal.