Verizon announced a pilot project with solar-powered bike-sharing company Swiftmile to aid commuters in Santa Clara County, Calif. In a pilot test, Verizon has connected the bikes, an app and the Swiftmile solar panels to its wireless 4G LTE network
The Internet of Things-based pilot project was initially designed to help Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority workers use one of Swiftmile’s four ebikes for short bike trips, including commutes from work to home and back again. Plans are to expand the project to 80 bikes at the Stanford Research Park, according to Swiftmile CEO Colin Roche.
The transit authority first offered the Swiftmile bike service to its transit authority workers at Santa Clara headquarters a year ago, but until now, the bikes were not connected wirelessly or computerized. But Verizon has entered the game with its Internet of Things Share Solutions platform to provide 4G LTE connections to the bikes and the solar charging stations where they are parked. The bikes will include a smartphone-like computing capability and will transmit GPS and other data wirelessly to Swiftmile or its corporate customers.
Users will be able to reserve a bike via a Swiftapp on a smartphone and also receive information on their phone about the distance of their ride and the impact they’ve made in reducing carbon emissions. A billing capability is coming to the app eventually, but for now companies are deploying the ebike rentals to let their workers rent them for free as an alternative to driving, Roche said.
Using proximity-correlation software designed by Verizon, a user will be able to unlock a reserved Swiftmile bike when his or her smartphone is near, by using the LTE network, Verizon said.