Bicycle Fleet Tracking with Bikes Make Life Better
Evolving from a shared conviction that bikes do in fact make life – and work-life – better, the Bikes Make Life Better team is enhancing transportation, sustainability, and wellness for some of the world’s most successful companies.
Providing best-in-class bicycle program planning, design, and implementation to companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and Microsoft, Bikes Make Life Better needed a robust and scalable battery-powered GPS tracking solution to track, monitor, and manage thousands of bicycles on corporate campuses.
“When we first launched in 2010, tracking the bicycles wasn’t a major concern,” says Kurt Martin, Director, Bikes Make Life Better. “But as we grew, we began searching for GPS enabled devices to give us better visibility into not only where the bicycles are, but how they are being used.”
Trial and Error
The Bikes Make Life Better team began piloting tracking devices in 2012.
“We found several start-ups that were trying to build tracking devices specifically for bicycles,” says Martin. “The problem was finding a device that successfully balanced battery-life, performance, and size, and most didn’t do that.”
“After trailing half a dozen different tracking devices, we decided to broaden our search – maybe the device doesn’t have to be designed specifically for bikes, to be useful for bikes, and we found Digital Matter,” says Martin.
Oyster2 for Bicycle Fleet Management
Designed for tracking non-powered assets of all shapes and sizes and values, the Bikes Make Life Better Team is using the Oyster2 battery-powered GPS to track and monitor over 2,500 bicycles.
Covertly installed on the bicycles, the Oyster2’s 3-Axis Accelerometer enables smart movement-based tracking – updating the reporting rate based on movement, and entering “sleep mode” when immobile to conserve battery life.
“In our busiest fleet, the bicycles move 10 to 12 times a day and we really want to see exactly all of those movements,” says Martin.
Tracking parameters such as accelerometer sensitivity and reporting rate are configured over-the-air via OEM Server, our Device Management Platform.
“With OEM Server, we are able to pinpoint just how frequently the devices need to report to capture the data we need while making sure the device isn’t reporting when it doesn’t need to, which conserves battery life,” says Martin.
Location and bicycle usage data are presented in Telematics Guru, our GPS Tracking Platform.
“Telematics Guru is the real tool for us,” says Martin. “Our fleets move quickly and are spread over many miles – Telematics Guru is an extremely robust mapping tool that allows us to see where the bicycles are, and how they are being used.”
In addition to capturing location and utilization data, a key performance parameter for Bikes Make Life Better is remaining battery life. The Oyster2’s built-in Coulomb Counter enables accurate remaining battery-life predictions.
“With Telematics Guru, we are able to proactively set low-battery life alerts, so we know when it’s time to swap out the batteries,” says Martin.
Preventative maintenance reminders and geofences are also configured with Telematics Guru. When bicycles leave pre-determined “virtual boundaries,” the Bikes Make Life Better team is alerted, and appropriate action can be taken in the case of theft or unauthorized use. If theft is suspected, the Oyster2 can be switched to Recovery Mode, which switches the device to real-time reporting to aid in recovery.
“We have dozens of people who are handling the bikes every day – over 10,000 trips a day,” says Martin. “Digital Matter provides the tools to manage our assets, prevent theft, and understand how companies can optimize their bike programs to meet their business goals, whether that be sustainability, wellness, or financial.”