A GPS enabled security product, dubbed the Lock8, is seeking distribution in the UK, with the hope that it could revolutionise bike hire - potentially even making it simpler for bike shops to run hire schemes.
For those who've not come across the Lock8 device before, the lock differs from traditional security products, offering an alarm system that communicates with the bike's owner and a number of pre-selected friends or colleagues, should a thief have a crack at breaking the lock. Those pre-selected friends are able to access the bicycle with a code distributed by the owner, also making bike sharing possible.
The creators believe this feature could open a 'new chapter in bike sharing', telling BikeBiz: "A smartphone connected bicycle lock is not only useful for bike owners, but there are also advantages for bike rental companies and bike sharing schemes within cities. E-key sharing via the internet allows people to book and access bikes 24-7 using the Lock8 App. Users can locate the nearest available bicycle, rent an e-key for a determined amount of time and cycle off. There is no need for expensive docking stations and Lock8 can connect existing infrastructure to onboard public and private businesses to create an efficient scalable urban transport solution."
Further to these features, during any attempt to break the coil, the lock will emit an ear-piercing high pitch alarm sound. If that's not enough to deter the thief, the Lock8, which is designed to stay attached to the bicycle's frame, will track the bike via a built in GPS chip.
To unlock or lock the bicycle, the rider need only have bluetooth connectivity on their mobile phone and the unique key code. An 'emergency key' is also supplied.
Thomas A. Kollen, director at Norseman Imports told BikeBiz: "I am very excited about representing Lock8 in the UK. Our goal is for the Lock8 to be a global platform for bicycle sharing within 2 years. And our vision is that wherever you go in the future, there will be a bike nearby that you could rent.
"It does not require a key, but instead you will use your smartphone to lock/unlock the Lock8. The e-key can be sent to friends who want to borrow your bike. This is a truly remarkable feature and something that has not been possible until now. Using GPS tracking, you always know where your bike is and you can create virtual docking stations. Owners of this device will be able to make money from renting out their own bikes through the Lock8 app. It will be something like Car2Go, only better.... and for bicycles. As the Sky News reporter pointed out last week: "Considering we rent out our cars and homes, our bikes are a natural next step."
Lock8 was the winner of TechCrunch Disrupt Europe award 2013.
To discuss distribution and retail opportunities, contact Norseman Imports on firstname.lastname@example.org