This segment highlights the current problems that bike sharing companies in Singapore are facing as well as their current attempt on tackling the issue of indiscriminate parking with the use of geofencing technology. Geo-fencing is a software feature that utilizes the global positioning system (from here on out, “GPS”) or radio frequency identification (from here on out, “RFID”) to define virtual boundaries.
With the increasing number of people using the bicycle sharing services offered by companies such as Ofo, OBike & MoBike, there have been an increase in “indiscriminate parking” incidents, where rental bicycles are left at inappropriate areas such as staircases, blocking fire escape routes and corridors. Town councils run by the People’s Action Party (PAP) are developing a common set of regulations for bicycle sharing, parking and riding.
Town councils will designate parking zones for the user to identify suitable parking locations. Any illegally parked bicycles will be towed away and the bicycle sharing operators will have to bear the cost of the retrieval and storage of the bicycles.
Despite the implementation of designated parking areas, cases of indiscriminate parking still occur often. How do bike sharing operators ensure that users parks within the designated parking areas?
To tackle the issue of indiscriminate parking, bike sharing operators such as OBike and SGBikes are venturing into geo-fencing technology to further specify the range of parking to the users. For this report, we will be focusing on OBike as our example. How does OBike’s geofencing work? By implementing beacons which are low-cost, low-powered transmitters equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (from here on out, “BLE”), it allows the beacon to communicate with the user’s mobile phone within the designated parking area’s range via Bluetooth, providing greater levels of location accuracy. These beacons emit out signals which have an approximate radius of the designated parking areas. When an OBike enters a geofenced area which is the designated parking area, the geo-fence technology in the mobile application will trigger a response to the user that he or she is within a permitted parking zone. Likewise, when a user attempts to park outside the geofenced area, the user will receive a notification saying that parking of the bike is not allowed in the current location he or she is in.
After the second quarter of 2018, users will be smacked with a 10 points demerit if they do not park within the geofenced areas each time. Repeated offenders will eventually be denied from OBike services once their points have completely depleted. I1
1 What’s Going On with Beacons? (2016, July 15). Retrieved December 26, 2017, from https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Whats-Going-On-with-Beacons/1014218