Lifestyle

A S'pore Startup Created A Smart Bicycle Rack To Pull The Brakes On Bike Parking Woes At HDBs

Neighbourhood cyclists should be able to understand the frustration of wanting to park your bicycle at HDB’s bicycle rack, only to find rusty (obviously unused for very long) two-wheelers taking up the space.

But thanks to the recent partnership of bluetooth solutions provider Viatick and the Housing Development Board (HDB), cyclists will no longer have to face this problem anymore.

Last Sunday (July 9), the two entities launched the first-ever bluetooth smart rack at HDB void decks which can help identify who had parked at the particular spot, and for exactly how long.

So what is a bluetooth smart rack?

For the unacquainted, it is a smart bicycle/personal mobility device (PMD) rack that can be used by anyone and everyone, without having to use their own locks.

Now driven by Bluetooth Low Energy (bLE) technology, users can simply unlock the locks on the bicycle racks, and park their own bicycles there, via their smartphones.

Before this new infrastructure, Town Councils had to manually identify old bicycles that have been hogging the bicycle parking lots at void decks.

The entire cycle of booking the bicycle lock, unlocking, and releasing the lock to the next user utilises block chain technology, which allows a detailed audit trail of who did the booking, and for how long.

Screenshot of BuzzVox app

This smart bicycle rack runs on the BuzzVox platform, and its technological capabilities include bluetooth for its locking mechanism, GPS for location tracking, artificial intelligence (AI) for traveling routes’ recommendation, a Chatbot for communication and enquiries, and Blockchain for booking transactions and imagery technology pertaining security needs.

It also has a backend for AI maintenance for each station and big data for utilisation for better planning purposes.

Gamechanging For Bike-Sharing Firms

In recent times, the bike-sharing trend has burgeoned in Singapore, but it has also brought about a lot of parking issues such as indiscriminate parking.

And with unused bicycles hogging up all the available racks, it will only serve to perpetuate the problem.

But the BuzzVox platform can actually help the bike-sharing providers – particularly ofo, oBike and mobike.

Users of their services can choose to park the shared bikes at BuzzVox’s smart bicycle rack, and be assured that when they return in the next few hours, the shared bike is still there and can be re-used by the same user who wanted it the first place prior to parking at BuzzVox’s smart bicycle rack.

Image Credit: Alfred Chua

On the surface, BuzzVox might be compared to the dockless boxes drawn up for bike-sharing companies at certain locations.

However, BuzzVox’s inclusive and scalable nature making it available to everyone and anyone, is the key difference between having drawn up areas for bike-sharing companies, and having a flexible and scalable infrastructure that can address the problem of indiscriminate parking for both bike sharing users and users with their own bicycles.

According to Viatick, working alongside strategic partners such as oBike, other third party PMD-sharing companies have recognised the importance to advocate responsible parking and have also been using BuzzVox’s infrastructure.

Viatick said that it aims to enable users to enjoy the infrastructure BuzzVox provides, via more strategic partnerships. BuzzVox is looking to provide more than 100 smart racks by 2018, largely within concentrated clusters dependent on the region.

Featured Image Credit: Viatick