By 2020 bike sharing systems in the world’s biggest cities are expected to offer over 2.3 million bicycles. Currently that figure stands at about one million bikes. And it doesn’t include all the rental bikes on offer at tourist spots all around the world. For this emerging market, bike security supplier Axa developed a smart e-lock.
1st generation e-locks
Axa, a reputed lock and lights supplier based in the Netherlands that recently became part of the Allegion group which also owns Kryptonite, started targeting electronic locks for bike sharing systems years ago. Some 5,000 bikes have those first generation e-locks and some 100,000 commuters and tourists frequently use them. The German railroad system Deutsche Bahn that already offers rental bikes them as well as the bike-sharing system Gobike in Copenhagen, Denmark. This brought Axa the needed know how on users, and on the features for the next e-lock generation. That next generation is now there.
Intelligent smart e-lock
Axa is launching that next generation e-locks in cooperation with its launching partner; Callock.com; the bikesharing company. This company is a provider of the total bike-sharing platform including smart dockings based on the newest technology in currently 17 cities and islands in Greece as well as in some other major European cities like Naples and Eindhoven.
The next generation electronic ringlocks can best be described as an intelligent smart lock that plays a pivotal role in bike sharing and bike rental systems. Because it also targets smaller systems, Axa’s new smart e-lock is ideally placed to the rapidly growing demand for smaller, more flexible, and more affordable rental systems. Such systems are operated by dealers in tourists regions, by hotels, and by companies located on vast industrial estates. The Axa smart e-lock is a versatile solution and can be easily integrated in any bike-sharing program or solution.
Bluetooth and app
Axa’s smart e-lock offers Bluetooth connection, making it possible to unlock the bike by phone. In addition, the Callock app identifies the customer at the back office of the rental system provider. Callock’s back office is in turn connected to Axa’s secure key server. All this brings significant advantages. The most important one is that with the smart e-lock, rental system providers can do without expensive, space consuming docking stations in cities. For users the most significant benefit is that there’s freedom to park. In particular during rush hours this is much needed when docking stations are full and one has to cycle to another one to find space to park the rented bike. Other advantages of the Axa E-Rental BT as the smart e-lock is officially named, is that the system remembers who has parked the bike; it offers no hassle with keys and the lock is fixed to the bike; users have real time information about availability and use. They can even book a bike.
How does it work?
The Callock app, that can be downloaded through registering at the rental system provider, offers real time information on the available bikes in the region. The customer chooses a bike in the zone and scans the QR code on the bike. This unlocks the bike and makes it is ready for usage. This is registered at the back office of the bike rental system provider. When parking the bike the rider simply locks the bike and closes the registration. The rental system provider then informs the payment provider – to collect the rental fee from the rider.
Darfon Mobility; the bikesharing company, is Axa’s launching partner for the E-Rental BT lock. It means that both companies will target bike rental companies, hotels that do rental bikes, as well as dealers and others – to market the smart e-lock together with the back office system and app that goes with it. As noted, Axa’s smart e-lock targets smaller providers – with fleets as small as 10 rental bikes!