News Article

Connected Bikes Communicate for Anti-Theft Security

Sales & Trends

APELDOORN, the Netherlands – Sparta characterizes itself as a brand focused on innovation. Proof of that is evidenced by it being the first Dutch brand to deliver a ‘connected’ bike, thanks to an intensive collaboration with AXA Bike Security.

Connected Bikes Communicate for Anti-Theft Security
Bart Visser, Conneqtech, Harmen Treep, MD AXA Bike Security, and Chiel Prein, Assortment Manager Sparta (left to right) with App and Sparta M8i ltd connected. – Photo Bike Europe

The new Sparta e-bike M8i Connected features an Internet connection, with which the bike ‘communicates’ with the outside world. The company says this equals more ease of use, and is a ‘weapon’ against theft.

Trend

Connectivity has been a burgeoning trend with e-bikes for some time, and at international shows several connected bikes have been seen before. Bart Visser from Conneqtech, the company that helped develop the communication technology of AXA Track&Trace, explains why this is happening just now.

Fast forwarding

“The developments in communication technology are fast forwarding. With the Internet of Things, or IoT, this has gained even more momentum. There are three influencing factors: First, data communication has become much cheaper, while thanks to microelectronics devices have become very small, and finally, that software to unlock data has become more flexible. Hence the field of application has grown considerably.”

Sparta and Conneqtech partnered to develop the software to allow the Track&Trace system to communicate by means of the Internet. The partnership built its so-called ecosystem around the bicycle. This complete system contains the technology, communication and security software, the app and so forth.

One-Channel Communication

Besides the fact of communication technology being ready to go, the consumer is too. Bart Visser says, “For the past three years everybody considers it normal for new cars to be equipped with a navigation system. In two years’ time no car will leave the factory without an app to communicate with the Internet.”

Harmen Treep, Managing Director AXA Bike Security, agrees, “We notice the same development coming for bicycles too. Together with Sparta we examined how this communication technology and app works best for cyclists and how the service around it can best be arranged.”

Sparta app

Apart from the anti-theft aspect the Sparta app has more to offer. For example, it provides the bicycle supplier with a direct means of communication with the cyclist. Sparta’s Assortment Manager Chiel Prein is closely involved in developing the Sparta app.

“The app also provides a direct service. Suppose a cyclist gets their e-bike stranded on the Veluwe (a Dutch piece of woods and heathlands). In that case, the display shows a code. In the app one can see which malfunction it concerns, and possibly how to resolve it by oneself. If not resolvable, the dealer-locator shows the nearest Sparta dealer, with the phone number.”

Functionalities

Prein indicates that the app currently has a number of functionalities, which can be extended in the future. Such as for commuting purposes. This could be of use for one’s employer, to determine the travel reimbursement based on mileage. With the app it is also possible to report directly to one’s insurer that the bike has gone missing.

To file a report through th app with the police is the next logical step. Bicycles of family members can be added so, for example, a parent can check whether their child has arrived at school. A communication grid like this (see where your friend is biking) has the interest of the young. Furthermore the app indicates when to charge the battery, or when to bring in the bike at the dealer for maintenance.

Ordinary bikes too

Harmen Treep notes, “Of course we continue to develop new mechanical locks. At present we also offer a wide variety (of) electronic locks, operable without key. We also firmly believe in ‘connected’! This will concern ordinary bikes too, because it needs only a very small battery to make it work. That can for example be placed in a lock, or in the taillight.”

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