As major cities increasingly explore green alternatives to urban gridlock and smog-creating carbon emissions, bike-sharing services, unmanned street corner kiosks holding smart bikes for temporary rental, are rapidly gaining popularity, projected to become a $6 billion global market by 2020. A pioneer in the urban bike-sharing movement sought to custom design a proprietary system for managing their asset inventory throughout the world.
The technical concepts of bike-sharing, tracking multiple bikes around town while networking their low-power base station kiosks, represent a unique mobile design challenge. While tens of thousands of smart bikes needed to be tracked via GPS, their remote base kiosks needed to accurately tabulate hourly user rentals and accurately process high volumes of payment transactions, while operating under limited solar power.
We teamed with an emerging leader in the global bike-sharing space to implement the perfect solution: a mobile infrastructure incorporating advanced RFID technology. In collaboration with the company, our engineers designed a robust network model structured around a controller area network (CAN) protocol. This network links assets via real-time internet connectivity, and accurately processing electronic user payments hosted on high-capacity cloud servers. An essential element of the system is our embedded 5mm RFID tag, which keeps each bicycle in constant connection with the central network.
We’ve worked with bike-sharing companies to overcome multiple hardware manufacturing challenges, such as developing a custom assembly process to accurately solder 0402 SMT components at an accelerated throughput rate to support aggressive deployment schedules. Where these businesses would typically have to farm out design and manufacturing among several vendors, often with mixed results, we delivered a one-stop, end-to-end EMS solution, from concept to completion.
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