Smart Shared Bicycle Lock

With a surging number of active users, bicycle sharing is growing rapidly. Shared bicycles are used by more than 32 million users every month on average, reaching a coverage of 8.04% in first-tier cities in China. Currently, GPRS-based smart locks are widely used in the bicycle sharing industry. However, GPRS-based smart locks offer an inadequate user experience. They suffer from high latency because of the limited coverage offered by GPRS networks. For example, in some areas with poor network coverage, it takes 5 to 10 seconds to unlock a bike and up to 25 seconds to pay for a ride. Moreover, the high power consumption of the GPRS-based modules shortens battery standby time to two months. To maintain a longer battery life, manpower or solar power is required, which results in high bike maintenance costs.

NB-IoT Enables Smart Shared Bike Locks

Solution Highlights

The NB-IoT-based Smart Shared Bike Lock Solution provides lower power consumption, better coverage, and lower latency. NB-IoT networks can provide extensive coverage 20 dB better than GSM networks. This solution ensures that users can properly unlock a shared bike from any place including an underground parking lot. Low latency ensures good user experience. An NB-IoT smart lock can be unlocked within just 2 seconds of locked, much quicker than a GSM lock (6.81 seconds).

The NB-IoT Smart Shared Bike Lock Solution solves the problems of high power consumption and short battery life. If each bike is unlocked ten times a day, the battery life can still last two or three years, almost as long as the bike itself. NB-IoT chips and modules are inexpensive, and the bikes require no charging devices, reducing the overall bike cost.

The IoT platform enables intelligent and refined bike O&M. The lifecycle management of smart lock SIM cards can effectively monitor the connection status of bikes and ensure efficient bike monitoring. For example, the solution can centrally activate all newly registered bikes, suspend faulty bike groups, and terminate lost bikes. The operational analysis of SIM cards enables intelligent bike monitoring. A wide range of information can be obtained, including usage ranking, bike group statistics, overall usage trends, usage trends by area or time, data connection issues, and location changes. The firmware over the air (FOTA) function of the IoT platform enables efficient remote firmware upgrades for smart locks, enhancing O&M capabilities. The end-to-end fault locating capability helps efficiently locate device-pipe-cloud faults and facilitates O&M.

Success Stories

ofo, China Telecom, and Huawei have worked together to complete basic feature and performance tests on NB-IoT-based shared bikes and have released 5,000 NB-IoT shared bikes in Beijing. One million NB-IoT-based ofo bikes are expected to be shared by the end of 2017.