The whole sharing economy has taken off in a big way over the past year. Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine is Yours estimates that the sharing economy is worth approximately $26 billion already, with individuals typically sharing products that are expensive to buy, but also widely owned via the estimated 200 platforms on the market.
A report on the industry by Altimeter Group suggested three main drivers behind the industry.
- Societal, with the mass move to urban environments facilitating sharing
- Economic, with financial strife encouraging people to make better use of their resources; and
- Technological, which allowed social and mobile marketplaces to emerge
Transport has been a major beneficiary of these changes, with a variety of car sharing and ride sharing services emerging to allow people to access a car as and when they needed it rather than owning one full time.
Most of the markets disrupted by the peer to peer model have revolved around products and services that are expensive to buy, with the car being a prime example. As a cyclist however, I’m well aware that a top of the range bike can easily cost as much, if not more, than a car. We’ve seen the rise of bike rental schemes in various cities around the world, but no private initiatives in this area. Until now that is.
Enter Lock8. Lock8 is a mobile service that allows bike owners to share access to their bikes with friends and colleagues. The service features Bluetooth and GSM capabilities, thus allowing continuous connectivity with the owner’s smartphone. Users can then lock and unlock the bike lock with a simple swipe of their phone.
The Lock8 is equipped with a number of sensors that make it more secure than a traditional lock. First, its GPS locator allows riders to check where there bike is at all times. The lock also features a silent alarm in the form of push notifications to their phone. The smart cable will raise the alarm if it’s been cut by thieves, the accelerometer senses if the lock is being forced with a saw or drill, and the thermistor triggers a warning if a blowtorch is being used.
Because the lock procedure is managed by a smartphone, owners can give access to their bike to others by sending them an ‘e-Key’ via Facebook. They can then check on the bike’s location and unlock it through the Lock8 app.
The company have been raising money for the project on Kickstarter, and have already exceeded their £50,000 target, but it is still open for a few more days if you want to get involved.
Check out their video below for more information.