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The IOT for Scooters

The IOT device is the "brain" of the scooter or bike. An IOT device is a usually a box mounted onto the scooter that  includes a GPS chip and antenna, a mini-computer, a cell receiver, a SIM card, and more.
IOT stands for Internet of Things, a term that came to popularity as we started adding computers to everything — vending machines, smart thermostats, internet-enabled security cameras, etc.
The IOT device on your vehicle allows it to report it's location and allows riders to start a ride from your app.


Messages and Commands
The vehicle sends the following information:
GPS coordinates
Battery percentage and health
Speed and direction
Alerts e.g. the scooter has fallen down

The server sends commands to the vehicle to change it's behavior:
Lock / unlock — to start and end a user's ride
Beep — to help finding the scooter
Set speed — to set a maximum speed on the scooter, useful for limiting speed in a geofenced area
Change settings — to modify the frequency of pings and other settings

SIM Cards and Cellular Service

Each IOT device requires a SIM card that has cell data capability. The SIM card allows the IOT device to send messages back and forth over the internet, similar to how your phone uses the cell data.
Some manufacturers will sell you a scooter with a SIM card where other manufacturers will require you to buy your own SIM card.


Data Consumption
Data usage varies between IOT devices, protocols, and vehicle usage.
When a vehicle is unlocked, we collect more data about the vehicle in order to detect issues, to plot the route of the vehicle, and to allow geofencing. So an unlocked vehicle will send more data in the same time span than a locked vehicle.

Hardware Options
Some manufacturers include IOT built into the vehicle or ship the scooter with an IOT device attached. Other, usually smaller, manufacturers require you to install your own IOT device.
If the manufacturer provides a IOT device by default, we recommend using that device instead of trying to use a custom device. Integrating IOT onto a vehicle is a painful process with a lot of edge cases, so it's always best to use whatever has been tested the most.


Omni

Omni is based in China near Shenzhen and provides a lot of the bike locks for the bikeshare companies in China. Omni makes IOT devices for scooters and locks for bikes.
Omni is probably the largest IOT provider in micromobility by number of vehicles and manufacturers and they are also one of the cheapest.
Omni operates over a TCP protocol. While our firmware has some bugs and inconsistencies, we've managed to mitigate most of the problems and Omni works well with Spring.
With Omni, you will need to either get SIM cards from your manufacturer or buy SIM cards. You pay for the SIM card plan.