AirBie, new Crypto Bike Sharing in Zug
A year ago I was walking my first automny steps in Zug, Switzerland, and learning how to share the road on my bike with the local traffic.
As the early readers of OUTSIDE THE BOX probably noticed, I did not especially draw the best painting of the city in terms of its cycling infrastructures and culture. But with Copenhagen as main benchmark in my mind and on my saddle, it is clear that the comparison was not fair, either.
FOr months however, Zug has been trying to re-invent its mobility by looking at alternative bike services for the canton.
Earlier this year Carvelo2Go, the first eCargo-Bike Sharing platform (that I plan to try when the weather gets a little more friendly to a traffic experiment) was launched, with 6 bikes available throughout the town. And in view of the number of bikes still available as I write the article (a rainy Wednesday night at 8pm) - one only - it seems the concept is working.
The city announced last week its intention to open the market to free-floating bike companies with the target of 500 bikes disseminated everywhere and the hope to reduce car traffic and complement an already-existing effective public transportation system.
As much I was fascinated by this new sharing model when it was first launched in Paris or Zurich, I could not stop but grinding my teeth at the pain it has been to circulate between bikes and scooters left here and there in the middle of the streets (for those who are not familiar with the concept, these bikes can be ordered, taken and left out anywhere through an app that manage their geolocation).
While the business model exploded throughout the world in 2017, it often hit the wall in 2018 with companies leaving some cities for a broad range of reasons: rules and regulations overload from the hosting cities, users'uncivilities, unexpectedly growing maintenance budget etc...
As an active pedestrian in Paris, my main rant has been to share the space with these new bikes left randomly in the middle of the sidewalks, on which pedestrian traffic already suffers from ongoing road constructions, poorly-parked cars or delivery trucks and a good amount of dog excrements.
Here in Zug, I have already feared for my son to be hit by bikes on the sidewalks (despite existing bike lanes nearby) and juggled to make my way around the limited parking spots (which, because they are limited, tend to be placed on the sidewalks, too, next to the shops). So I have been writing my rants here on OUTSIDE THE BOX, and I even shared some comments about this free-floating project with the local press. Let's see what will happen and especially which companies will be picked.
More to come in 2019.
Sometimes, I am a party-pooper, but I fully take responsibility, or even worse, credits.
But now, back to the original topic of this article.
With Stadt Zug as the main partner, the company AirBie launched the first Crypto Bike-sharing app in Zug, with crypto security at the heart of the process.
The "smart" locks are based on two new technologies, the Blockchain and LoRaWAN technology, which - in contrast to the mobile network - use an energy-saving and highly efficient low-voltage network.
The principle however remains the same: find a bike, unlock it, use it then sign-out through the app itself. Users are required to sign-up via the secured platform set by Stadt Zug that will provide profiles secured through blockchain.
AirBie made its first steps as a smart platform monitoring air quality through a network of sensors of NOx, CO, NH3 and fine dust and other pollutants, and made it finalist of the ClimateLaunchpad.
The launch article is available here (in German) in case you want to learn more about the technology.
Another crypto-step for the canton which congratulates and sells itself as being on the forefront of the technology and the host of multiple blockhain-driven companies.
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