IoT-connected bike lock enables real time monitoring

15th March 2016
Nat Bowers

Utilising Dutch KPN’s LORA technology, Mobilock is the world’s first bike lock which is connected to the IoT. The bike sharing system uses a smartphone app to open the lock and can now monitor and localise all its bikes in real time, where-ever and whenever they are, without using GPS.

Public bike sharing systems play an important role in attempts to make transport more sustainable and are in use in many big cities like Barcelona, Paris, Copenhagen, Hangzhou or New York.

To simplify the system of bike sharing, Mobilock developed a bike lock which uses a smartphone app as a key. The system can be implemented all around the world without check-out stations, parking docks or storage facilities. Mobilock smartly uses infrastructure that is already there, like bikes, storages and smartphones.

After launching Mobilock last January the company was overwhelmed by requests from bike rental companies, holiday parks, hotels and other companies in the tourism industry. The first locks will reach the market in April.

With KPN’s LORA, a new technology is implemented in the lock. LORA makes it possible to connect billions of devices over large distances with the internet, using 3 or 4G. Because LORA chips and sensors consume little power, the system uses hardly any energy. A device connected to the LORA network is able to send data and commands for fifteen years using only two AA batteries.

To MobiLock this technology offers several benefits. Bikes with this lock can be localised and monitored real-time, even when someone is riding the bike. This improves bike sharing management: "We are the first in the bike industry to apply this new technology,” says Walter Nieuwendijk, Managing Director, who developed the innovative technology together with Co-Founder Willem-Jan te Riele. "Thanks to LORA, rental companies can locate their bikes at any time and see who’s riding it. Also, the system barely needs energy, while old GPS systems - for instance used in cars - need a lot of power. With this addition Mobilock becomes the most complete and compact bike share system in the world.”

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