Connectivity and (e-)bikes: less the why, more the how, and actually: why not
A bicycle is an analog connectivity tool, hard to digitize its primary function if you’re not Montgomery Scott. Clear so far, what is the benefit of digitizing a bike? What about all bike-related products, services and especially situations where being connected can be use — and helpful? Having thought about it for two seconds. Anyone who cycles will have a thousand things in their mind, like specific navigation, battery management, pro-active safety, automated emergency calls, bike location, wearable devices and so on. If that is not enough: we’re used to our digital comfort while driving and using navigation, entertainment and communication systems, the same whilst taking a metro or a cab. So why should cycling, and especially e-biking stay static? This question relates to the cycling requirements during a ride, and general bike-related services and information. Considering the why answered, the what and how are our subjects to talk about.
How would connectivity look like to be useful on two wheels?
During the ride, the bike’s navigation system with supervision from a traffic display showing unsafe areas, the system searches for the best route and accidents can be averted through early information and alert detection. Staying on safety, we already talked about ABS for bikes. Pro-active lighting and direction indicators can allow cyclists to be a lot more visible on the streets, especially in conditions of bad visibility. In an unlikely case of an accident, a digitally connected bike will send an emergency call. An intelligent and automated gear shifting that is based on the cyclist’s performance adds a new level of riding comfort to the bike. There’s no chain fiddling and always the perfect transmission. If you like listening to music, a pro-active sound system adjusts or mutes the volume accordingly. Finally, what’s already visible on bike computers today, can be displayed with better visibility, seamlessly transmitted and analyzed.
Benefits of digitized services around cycling are a specific weather forecast for the planned route helping the cyclist choose the right clothes, GPS bike tracking will locate stolen devices. All collected data can be used to plan cities and traffic more bicycle-friendly. An independently managed maintenance system will alert the cyclist for service at the right time thus keeping the bike fun and ready to go. And that’s what cycling is all about. Mostly.
Summed up in two sentences, it might sound a bit worn out, but nevertheless important for bike-specific products: The more information there is — the better it should be sorted and displayed. The more pro-active technology — the better it should adapt to user and situation.
This is part of an ongoing series we at TEAMS Design are producing to discuss future trends we are researching in the bike industry.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on July 13, 2018.