Two companies are about revolutionise the urban bicycle culture. Lock8 and Skylock are both working on Bluetooth bicycle locking systems that can be unlocked and tracked via smartphone.
WebMagazin compares the two new tech hardware startups that will be battling to win over the world’s tech-savvy cyclists.
- Launch: mid 2014
- Price: $249
- Unique features: Allows you to rent out your bike; charges by induction during cycling
Having already pocketed the “Disrupt Cup” at the TechCruch Disrupt Europe, this Berlin-based startup has already received significant funding from angel investors and a successful Kickstarter campaign. If someone tries to steal your bike (either by breaking the lock or moving your bike), Lock8 will turn on a painfully loud alarm while sending you a push notification that your bike might be at risk.
Lock8’s flexible lock will make it easier to attach to lamppost and railings, but many bike specialists claim that D-locks are harder to break. Anyone who can’t wait to make their lock smart will have to choose Lock8, which is available at least half a year before Skylock.
- Launch: early 2015
- Price: $249 ($159 for pre-order)
- Unique features: Calls an ambulance in case of accident; solar-powered battery; can also be unclocked by keycode
Unlocking automatically when you approach, the Skylock can be located using your smartphone, just like with the Lock8. The solar-powered battery may be more reliable than Lock8’s induction-powered battery, which is only recharged when you cycle. Its D-lock system is less flexible than Lock8’s snake lock, but is arguably harder for thieves to crack open.
A creation of Velo Labs, Skylock is currently still in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign and wants to reach a target of 50,000 USD before going into production.
The internet of bicycle things
Both devices make it possible for anyone who has downloaded the respective app to request access from the locked bike.
By using a combination of hardware and software that links various objects together, both devices have brought bicycles into the internet of things.
Having already been debated as far back as 1991, the internet of things (or IoT) has become an increasingly mainstream term, as well as an important concept for developers.
As Lock8’s founders told WebMagazin, “one thing that separates us from most [other tech startups] that we are dealing with both software and hardware.”
Although some cyclists will be sceptical of how much necessary functionality that additional smartphone connectivity brings them, both products are sure to reel in a large number of tech fiends.