Does a bike sharing program really need IoT? (The answer's probably yes)

This information provided by Smart Cities Council North America.
Thu, 2017-06-01 12:59 -- Doug Peeples

Photo credit: Mobike

Smart bike sharing programs have been implemented in about 1,000 cities globally to enhance urban mobility, reduce carbon footprints and make cities more livable among other things. But how do cities and program providers ensure the bikes are accessible, easy to use and well-maintained – particularly if you have 4.5 million bikes in your system? That’s why Council Lead Partner Qualcomm is partnering with a Chinese research institute and the country’s top smart bike sharing provider on a field trial to determine if a combination of advanced technologies can support bike sharing programs and ensure they’re sustainable. — Doug Peeples

Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) and smart bike sharing company Mobike will soon launch what is said to be the first of its kind LTE IoT multimode field trial to resolve issues that can hamper smart bike sharing program operations and efficiency.

The trial will bring together CMRI’s 2G/4G multimode network, Mobike’s smart lock and Qualcomm’s MDM9206 global multimode LTE modem for IoT applications. Qualcomm’s LTE modem includes an integrated global navigation satellite system and other similar capabilities intended to help Mobike riders find an available bike and speed up the process of unlocking its smart lock, and to help the company monitor its bikes.

“Mobike pioneered the world’s first smart bike sharing platform, and we are committed to addressing the challenge of short trips with innovative technologies and solutions bringing bikes back to the city,” said Joe Xia, Mobike co-founder and chief technical officer.

Qualcomm’s low-power Bluetooth solution also is part of the equation and will help Mobike keep track of its bikes’ locations, how many are in specific locations and monitor traffic information and conditions. And the platform will provide the company’s operations personnel with the information they need to deliver, schedule and maintain the bikes.

Way-Shing Lee, technology VP for Qualcomm Technologies, commented “We are committed to providing IoT-optimized solutions that address demands from our customers to bring a new range of applications and services built on the reliability, efficiency and global scale of LTE IoT cellular connectivity. Through this cooperation with China Mobile Research Institute and Mobike on the first multimode eMTC/NB-IoT field trial in China, we can showcase a highly connected and efficient system for a new IoT application such as Mobike’s bike sharing platform.”

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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.