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Taiwan firm uses Sigfox to secure shared bicycles

Steve Rogerson
February 15, 2018

Fox-Tech has launched what it claims is the world's first Sigfox-powered LPWAN integrated smart lock for shared bicycles. Researched and developed in Taiwan, OTO Hunter integrates Sigfox's IoT connectivity service to reduce the power consumption of smart locks.
The goal is to solve the on-going global problems of maintaining shared bicycles.
Recently, indiscriminate parking of shared bikes on the streets has rapidly gained the concerns of city planners and urban administration authorities all over the world. A major waste in resources and an environmental pollution problem, managing shared bicycles in an effective and sustainable model is one of the challenges facing operators.
The shared bicycle market is split into docked and dockless bicycles. Ineffective asset management, high operation and maintenance costs are problems affecting most operators. Most bicycles on the market adopt short-range wireless technologies, such as a traditional cellular network, Bluetooth or wifi.
For 2G or 3G schemes, the high cost in implementation is unsustainable in the long term. Whereas for Bluetooth and wifi, the high power consumption and inefficient communications make them a poor choice operationally. This directly impacts the positioning and operational costs of shared bicycles on the market.
Integrating a smart lock with Sigfox's transmission technology sees power consumption fall to ten per cent of NB-IoT, and five per cent of traditional 2G and 3G networks, and does not incur international roaming charges. Operators of shared bicycles can use this to manage their assets globally at a lower cost.
In addition, GPS and geo-fencing capabilities in the smart lock can inform operators of the exact whereabouts of their bicycles, reducing the risk of assets being stolen, going missing or being vandalised. With these features, more diversified functions and value-added services can be expected.
"We are proud to be part of this state-of-the-art product," said Derrick Wei, CEO of M2Comm. "With its wide coverage and low energy consumption, Sigfox is surely the most-suited LPWAN technology to enable IoT use cases like this. To optimise the product advantage, however, it takes close collaboration between chipset and vendors to deliver the result. With M2C8001 single-chip, OTO Hunter is enabled with global coverage and offers best-in-class battery life, ten times better than 2G offering, for shared-bike industry. A similar design can be enabled for other applications requiring tracer capability in all Sigfox coverage terrains"
Fox-Tech will offer integrated products through Sigfox transmission technology and cloud-based services. These can then be deployed to any Sigfox operated countries worldwide, particularly in Europe.
At the Sigfox World IoT Convention in Czech Republic last year, Fox-Tech made an announcement to adopt Sigfox to develop exclusive IoT tracking and locating features. With the LPWAN transmission channel and accurate geolocation, the company says it is simply the best option for tracking dockless shared bicycles.
"With over 30 years of experience specialising in the OEM business of PCB and electronic assembly, Might Electronic is committed to ensuring premium hardware quality for the smart lock,” said general manager Dai from Might Electronic. “Together with Sigfox IoT technology, Might Electronic will transform and unify the traditional IoT ecological chain in Taiwan to lead the international development of IoT and drive the future of lifestyle technology."