“IoT” and “Connected Car” were hot topics in 2016 and continue to be so this year - but the “Connected Bicycle” is where the real IoT revolution is happening right now!
Mobike is a China startup operating a station-less bicycle sharing system and deploys over 1 million proprietary “QR” code-based sharing-bikes in ten of largest cities in China. By locating the nearest bike and unlock it by scanning the “QR” code via a mobile app, users can pick up a bike whenever they need. After the ride, users park the bicycle anywhere and lock it by using the same mobile app. With costs as low as 0.5 RMB (0.07 USD) per ride, Mobike’s value proposition is to solve the “last kilometer” issue where the commuters destination is too far to walk, but too close to justify the cost and time of finding a taxi.
The core technology behind this is IoT - each bicycle is equipped with a GPS and mobile terminal. It continuously reports its location to a cloud server and receives commands from the cloud server. Key factors for IoT success:
- Good mobile coverage and communications – in this case, the China operators and the wireless equipment vendors (including Comba ^_^)
- Low cost equipment – The bike lock integrates embedded ICs, GPS module and SIM card.
- Low cost data network plans – Operator offers low volume data plans – ideal for IoT application (note a high speed data connection is NOT needed).
Basically, IoT is happening now and it is a progressive evolution as opposed to sudden seismic shift. The connected bike is an example of how this technology is proliferating into everyday life one step (or in this case, one pedal) at a time.