"The future of new mobility will be centered around IoT technology," said Mobike Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder Joe Xia at Mobile World Congress February 28 in Barcelona, Spain.
Founded three years ago, Mobike, the Beijing-based bike-sharing company, is the world’s first cashless and station-free bike-sharing platform that is solving the short distance connectivity problem in cities.
Mobike operates one of the world’s largest IoT networks with over nine million IoT-connected devices. Mobike is also at the forefront of developing NarrowBand IoT capabilities. NB-IoT helps power smaller, low-powered devices wirelessly connect to data platforms.
Mobike uses a patented bike design and smart lock system combined with a smartphone app to bring customers greater access to a bike when they need it the most - the last mile to their destination.
Users locate a bike and pay for use of it with their smartphones. When finished with the bike they can leave it in any legal parking space.
They don't have to return it to a specified docking location, but Mobike rewards good behavior with better credit arrangements. Each user starts with a Mobike Score of 550 by default that changes based on user behavior.
Good behavior includes parking the bike at preferred Mobike stations, reporting wrongfully parked or defective bikes, and detailing where the bike is parked for the next user to find it more easily. Poor behavior will reduce a customer's Mobike credit, with account-freeze if credit hits zero.
People seem to like the system. By the number of bicyles, Mobike is already the world's largest shared bicycle operator, and in December 2016, made Shanghai the world's largest bike-share city.
Mobike operates in over 160 cities in China and is presently expanding. In November 2017, the Dutch city of Rotterdam welcomed Mobike to its streets, going from 150 bikes to 500 bikes within the first few weeks.
But Mobike has competitors. Other stationless sharing bikes such as oBike, Gobike and Donkey Republic entered Rotterdam in the past few months, also with a small quantity of bikes to start.
And the Chinese company ofo has eight million bikes in China and 25 million rides occur daily. Globally, it serves more than 100 million users from 170 cities in nine countries.
Another Chinese company, Huawei, is using IoT technology to enable about 50 smart cities in many ways, including shared bicycles.
Earlier this month, Mobike arrived in Mexico City, its first Latin American city. In collaboration with Miguel Hidalgo Municipality, Mobike is launching a smart bike-share pilot in three Mexico City neighborhoods with 50 bike parking zones.
Xóchitl Gálvez, delegation chief at Miguel Hidalgo Municipality, said, "We fully expect the Mobike program to make strides in convincing people to start using this sustainable transport method. Promoting responsible bike-sharing usage is a top priority and we will encourage users to ride safely and park their bikes in the appropriate places."
Chris Martin, vice president of global expansion at Mobike, said, “We’re thrilled to arrive in Mexico, our first Latin American city. Mobike is committed to developing a global bikeshare culture by collaborating closely with cities."
Xia said, "At Mobike we have the world’s leading mobile IoT platform, and we’re focused on making a positive impact on city planning, the environment, and access to education and employment by delivering a seamless user experience to Mobikers around the world."
By Sunny Lewis
Environment News Service (ENS)