Locating Mobike bikes may get easier with Singtel tie-up

Users of Mobike bicycles may be able to locate the firm's orange bicycles with greater ease, thanks to a tie-up between the Chinese firm and telco Singtel.

The two firms yesterday signed an agreement that will see them team up to explore the use of new Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Such technology refers to a network that connects devices such as vehicles and home appliances, allowing them to share data and communicate.

This will allow bicycles to be more easily found in areas such as void decks of Housing Board blocks, where Global Positioning System (GPS) technology may not be able to easily locate them, said Mobike co-founder and chief technology officer Joe Xia.

Mobike country manager Sharon Meng said the firm would also be open to partnering Singtel on the use of technology such as beacons - hardware which can enhance the accuracy of geofencing - to prevent indiscriminate parking.

Geofencing taps GPS or radio frequency identification technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.

Ms Meng said Mobike is working with the Land Transport Authority on the implementation of beacons here.

A trial of such IoT technology is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, said Mr Arthur Lang, chief executive officer of Singtel's international group. He added that the use of IoT will help further Singapore's Smart Nation ambitions.

"A smart city works only if devices can talk to one another," he said, adding that this would help enhance consumer experience.

Mr Lang added that Singtel would also be able to tap the 30TB of big data generated daily by the 200 million Mobike riders worldwide to better cater to customers.

The partnership between the two companies - which extends to Singtel-owned Optus in Australia as well as associate telcos in the region, such as Telkomsel in Indonesia and AIS in Thailand - will also allow Mobike users to pay for trips using Singtel's mobile wallet app Dash, or through their monthly phone bills.

While Mr Lang said it was too early to put a dollar value on the agreement, he said the partnership between Singtel and Mobike would continue to develop over the next few years.

"This is not a 'next six months' type of collaboration," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline 'Locating Mobike bikes may get easier with Singtel tie-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe