27 juin 22

Making bike sharing carefree for fleet owners and riders

Businesses and organisations have shied away from offering bike schemes because of the complexity of managing them. Zingi, a mobility ecosystem provider, is offering the perfect solution: an all-inclusive service for closed user groups providing a bicycle sharing scheme for customers or employees.

Zingi smooths out the creases by:

  • Offering a unique, all-in solution for shared bicycles.
  • Enabling employees to easily unlock a bicycle with their company badge (RFID) or the Zingi smartphone app.
  • Taking care of everything: bicycle, digital lock, smartphone app, management platform, maintenance and repair.

Zingi’s ‘carefree’ and easy-to-implement solution comes with high quality mechanical and e-bikes made in Belgium. It can also be implemented on existing fleets. Zingi is a subsidiary of Sentinel, a company that develops hardware and software solutions for shared mobility.

Everything for a fixed monthly fee

Bernard De Groote, CEO and Co-founder of Zingi , shares details of this exciting offer: “This is what we call a carefree solution, where the company doesn’t have to worry about anything. We supply it all. Many companies want to provide bike sharing but are blocked because they don’t know what kind of bikes to buy, or how to manage and maintain the service. They don’t have the resources in-house to setup a system to handle management and booking. We supply everything in exchange for a monthly fee. The smartphone app and bicycles are branded with the logo and colour scheme of the customer.”

 “If customers already have bicycles and just want Zingi to run the service, that’s also possible.” De Groote explains: “It’s then a matter for us to digitise their bicycles. Firstly, we check if their currently bicycles are compatible with our smart lock. The Sentinel Smartlock has an internet connection and GPS tracking so we always know where the bikes are. The locks can be opened with the app but there's also a built-in RFID card reader, which means companies can use their company badge to unlock a bike. Everything is digital so physical keys are unnecessary, saving time on admin and easing user frustration. It also allows the system to be setup for different use cases: on-site; last mile, business trips, park & bike and so on.”

Customers include corporate companies, local governments, universities, hotels. Pfizer, for example, uses the service for last mile mobility from the train station to the company and back. Their users can book a bike in advance and rely on it being available when they need it. Shell, BASF and UCB use Zingi for improved on-site mobility.

Zingi benefits:

  • Health, well-being and environment – improves the mobility of staff, is good for their physical health and is kind to the environment.
  • Rider buy-in – easy to use for the rider, via RFID or Smartphone app.
  • Keyless – no more having to manage keys.
  • Management efficiency – easy to use for the mobility manager to keep track of bike and mobility use.
  • Speedy set up – the system can be quickly set-up according to the needs of the customer.
  • Convenient – carefree service for a fixed monthly fee and a single point of contact with Sentinel.
  • Fully customisable – can include insurance if required.
  • Transparent – offers a complete overview of bike mobility throughout the company.
  • Economy – the number of bikes in one company can be reduced due to greater utilisation, more rides with fewer bikes.
  • Always operational – available for riders anytime.

Sentinel started out in 2017 as Mobit, a bike sharing operator offering free floating bikes to the general public in several Belgian cities.  Based on that experience, the company began to specialise in designing and producing the technology rather than running the service, and changed its name to Sentinel. It now supplies and develops hardware and software for shared mobility.

The unbreakable, packed with technology -  The Sentinel Smart Lock

For its all-in bike sharing solution, Zingi relies on the Sentinel software in combination with the Sentinel SmartLock.

De Groote explains: “The Sentinel SmartLock is packed full of technology, including GPS tracking so we always know exactly where each bike is; as long as the bike has our lock attached.”

This addresses many of the key problems faced by businesses that set up and ran private bike sharing services; without GPS tracking they didn’t know where their bikes were, if they were properly maintained or being used.

The Smart Lock also has internet connection through a SIM card, which means they’re permanently online and it enables bikes to be unlocked remotely or with a Smartphone app. Physical keys are no longer needed. The RFID cards are not stored in the lock but are verified on the platform when a card is presented to the lock. Once validated, the lock will open and it happens at lightning speed.

Comprehensive and easy to use back-office

Zingi provides the customer with a comprehensive back-office.  Mobility managers can easily invite, add or delete users, follow up riding data and generate heatmaps with the most used parking locations and tracks. Based on this data, the customer can evaluate and further improve their mobility.

Temporary voucher codes can be created on the platform that can be used by visitors, or they can be given an RFID card.

In addition, the system has an evacuation feature, which means, in the case of an emergency, all the bikes on site can be immediately unlocked and made available

“Our customers love this,” says De Groote, “it gives them peace of mind that the bikes can be used in case a site needs to be evacuated.”

In the future, Sentinel is focused on expanding its service across Europe and adding new capabilities and reporting functions to the platform. The aim is to make shared mobility more accessible, uncomplicated and safe for operators and riders.

Main image: Zingi. In-article image: Sentinel

Authored by: Alison Pittaway