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Automated modular vertical parking for bicycles: guard your bike inside!

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BIKEINSIDE (Automated modular vertical parking for bicycles: guard your bike inside!)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2019-12-31

Bike theft is an important societal issue. About 13 million bicycle thieves per year are reported worldwide. The London Cycle Theft Survey 2016 says that more than 45% of riders had at least one bicycle stolen whilst 75% of cyclists seeks for more secure bike stands.
BIKEINSIDE SRLS, an innovative Italian start-up company funded in 2019 by four entrepreneurs with excellent expertize in industrial automation and passioned of bike. Besides the new technology, the company proposes itself with an original business model based on loan-for-free-use of the infrastructure to their final clients, both private or public entities.
BIKEINSIDE is a disruptive, automated and highly modular parking system that implements some of most advanced solutions in terms of mechatronics, sensors and IT solutions.
The goals of the feasibility study were the following:
a) To complete the technical feasibility (PLC SW automation, services of the DMS and user-targeted mobile/web APPs) and perform a scouting of strategic partners for further development of the business project;
b) To perform a detailed market analysis to identify potential target market and do a more precise estimate of the market size and segmentation;
c) To elaborate a comprehensive Business Plan: that will guide us to successful introduction of BIKEINSIDE into the market;
d) To elaborate a detailed Risk Assessment in order to quantify and mitigate any technical, financial and commercial risks that could affect the project exploitation.
e) To review our IRP strategy and analyse the IP context in order to asses our FTO.
The work performed during the 4 months of the SME1 project covers the following activities:
1) Technical feasibility
We have completed the development of the multifunctional and flexible platform PLC / HMI. Our work focused on the aspects of industrial controllers traditionally hostile for the designers, namely: a) The discrepancy among the different programming languages; b) Interface difficulties with the management software.
The aim was to generate PLC control in a single development environment, with the advantage of using an open platform in a modular system of inputs and outputs to the rack sensors. Using a PC, we installed the program that generates the PLC code, instead of relying on a closed architecture with the manufacturer / supplier specific runtime already integrated. The runtime can be installed on any hardware architecture, in compliance with the expressed production logic of the Km0, flexible and permanently modifiable and independent of the system architecture. To do this we used Codesys (Controlled Development System), a software to program the PLC in realtime, which transforms a normal PC into a PLC, that allowed us to implement automata for logic control using one of the languages defined by the IEC 61131-3 standard.
Secondly, we have finalized the services of the DMS and user-targeted mobile/web APPs. The application was created to be used both in WEB and in MOBILE mode (Android and iOS) and can be customized according to the language of the one set and used on the smartphone or Tablet or PC or Notebook. All the required functionalities have been tested and debugged. The functions are the same in the two access modes, except for the management functions by the System Administrators for which Back End functions are activated to carry out the technical maintenance activities of the Bikeinside system.
2) Commercial feasibility, Business Plan and Risk Assessment
During the phase 1 we have collected all available relevant information and data concerning our target market. We have roughly divided the market into three orthogonal but partially overlapping segments: a) bike parking, b) bike renting (sharing) and c) bike tourism; and we have deeply investigated them in order to better understand the different users’ needs and the barriers that might exist.
During the phase 1 project we have elaborated a comprehensive Business Plan that will serve to guide our company to successful introduction of the BIKEINSIDE into the market. We have consolidated our business model, our strategies for systems production and sales, our marketing mix and approach to reach the market. We also have performed a detailed Risk Assessment in order to quantify and mitigate any technical, financial and commercial risks that could affect the project exploitation. The IRP strategy and the IP context has been also re-assessed in order to verify our freedom to operate (FTO).
During the last four months we have developed some important contacts with potential clients, starting from the cities of our territory (Piedmont Region) such as Torino, Vercelli, Alessandria, Verbania, Cisterino and looking beyond the boundaries of our region: we have been in contact with the municipalities of Brescia and Gardone Val Trompia (Lombardy) as well as Locorotondo and Alberobello (Puglia). We have received an important expression of interest from UNCEM, ie the National Union of Mountain Communities Communities, an association that represents a territorial basin equal to 54% of the Italian one with more than 10 million inhabitants.
We boosted to the dissemination and communication of our project. This was promoted at both local and national level, also thanks to support of the CSMT Technological Pole of Brescia. Press release have been published in some local newspapers and we improved the communication thorough our website. BIKEINSIDE project was selected for the participation at the Science Festival of Gardone Val Trompia.
Although public bike parking station facilities have started to emerge more and more frequently in the last few years, they traditionally remain something developed and managed by local municipalities, due to high public investments needed to realize and operate these facilities. Indeed, today there are only a few private European companies specialized to provide fully automated bike parking solutions.
The mission of BIKEINSIDE will be to provide services related to parking, long-term custody and rental of bicycles (classical and e-bike). Those services are enabled by our innovative BIKEINSIDE automated vertical storage technology and associated IT services (front and back-end applications for park searching, booking, payment, and so on).
BIKEINSIDE proposes itself as the only scalable, modular and time effective solution on the market, being at the same time affordable in terms capex costs and service costs for users. Our vision is to become the first private european player in the sector of bike parking.
On a 5-years outlook, BIKEINSIDE expects to install more that 550 systems in Italy and Europe; this could generate a cumulative turnover of more than 100 M€ and an EBITDA of 25%. The revenues come from two types of services: sale of parking/renting services to users at affordable rates and sale of advertising spaces.
More secure bike stands will help to boos bike usage. Bike is the greenest way to move around the city; this will help citizens to reduce their CO2 emissions, to improve air quality, to reduce noise and hence to have safer and healthier cities for all people.
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