This week, a company called smartmo launched a blockchain and IoT-powered bicycle parking solution. Commuters at the main railway station in Lucerne, Switzerland can now lock up their bikes using a smartmo smartlock parking station, with the payment and lock itself secured on the blockchain.
How Does smartmo Work?
Unlike many blockchain-based applications, users of smartmo don’t need to buy Bitcoin and swap it for a dApp token to participate. It’s as easy as any other pay-as-you-go solution. Users only need to download the app to register, and from there they can simply start using the bike parking.
Along with the secure parking spot, each parking station is equipped with a secure box for helmet storage, and a charging station for e-bikes. When you arrive, you park the bike and then use the app to scan the QR code of the parking station.
When you return to collect your bike, you scan again. The smart lock releases your bike and debits the relevant charges for parking and electricity from your account within the app.
The smartmo user interface is a simple example of how blockchain can be used under the hood to create a seamless smart city experience, without the user ever knowing that blockchain technology lies beneath.
However, the QR codes are the interface for key encryption which identifies the user as having locked the parking spot, meaning no one else can unlock it.
Blockchain also handles the payments, which are settled instantly from a user perspective. However, it’s not clear if this is an on-chain settlement or if the confirmation takes place later.
A Nation of Cyclists
Switzerland is in the top ten countries for cycling, and e-bike sales now account for around a third of all bicycle sales. Therefore, bike parking is in high demand, and charging facilities are still hard to come by.
Smartmo have the opportunity to maximize their first-mover advantage in the market. If this solution takes off, it could mean the adoption of blockchain for more smart infrastructure like car parking, office rental or self-service hotel rooms.
For the technology, smartmo has teamed up with CoreLedger, a Crypto Valley-based company that provides clients with blockchain software infrastructure solutions to meet their specific project requirements.
Swiss Federal rail company, SBB, is also on board. While the first launch is in Lucerne, plans are already in place to roll out the technology in a further six main railway stations including Zürich and Basel, by the end of this year.