Together with KEYMILE, DB Kommunikationstechnik developed a machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless solution for ‘call a bike’ and fitted cycles with new onboard units.

‘Call a bike’ is the cycle rental system offered by Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB Rent. By transmitting data on Deutsche Telekom’s mobile phone network, the onboard unit makes the service more efficient and enables better communication with the customer and localisation of the bikes.

KEYMILE is a leading supplier of cutting-edge technology for communications solutions in access and transmission systems. Its new M2M wireless solution allows Deutsche Bahn’s ‘call a bike’ customers to find the bikes on the web and via Deutsche Telekom’s mobile phone network.

The cycles are fitted with a battery-driven onboard unit (OBU). The OBU has a wireless module, custom-developed for these purposes. It also has a GPS/GSM aerial in order to exchange data between bikes and a central server and to localise the bikes. As the module is only activated when data synchronisation takes place, the device is very energy efficient. The advantage of the new solution is that the rental and return processes are fully automated using a smartphone app and M2M technology. Customers can also find out where available bikes are located at any time.

"Thanks to KEYMILE’s M2M wireless solution and connection to Telekom’s mobile phone network, we can make all the processes involved in localising the bikes more efficient and enhance our communication with the customer," comments Ralf Wulftange of DB Kommunikationstechnik.

"Deutsche Bahn has been using KEYMILE products for years to transmit safety-critical data. Some examples include corporate telecommunications facilities, rail control systems, or applications like CCTV and GSM-R wireless railway communication. Telekom’s communications networks have also been used for years at DB. Therefore, it seemed an obvious choice to pick KEYMILE and Deutsche Telekom for this project too."

DB Kommunikationstechnik is DB’s service provider throughout Germany for ICT technology and Deutsche Bahn’s communication infrastructures. The company was commissioned by DB Rent, a mobile services provider of DB, to plan, carry out and co-ordinate the project for the wireless ‘call a bike’ solution. It also selected other partners and was responsible for integration within DB.

For KEYMILE, Deutsche Telekom and DB Kommunikationstechnik, the ‘call a bike’ project is just one example of the opportunities M2M communication offers. In future, all three companies will combine their skills in further projects. Together they will develop customised solutions with high levels of convenience. They will also enhance M2M applications and automate business processes so that vehicles, devices and machines can communicate via wireless networks in two directions with each other, or with an exchange. During remote monitoring, maintenance and control, the terminals constantly transmit process parameters (temperature, fill levels, pressure etc.). By using track and find processes for vehicles, containers and other mobile units, costs can be minimised and the efficiency of processes increased sustainably.

"To implement M2M projects successfully, it’s vital to create end-to-end solutions with professional partners like DB Kommunikationstechnik and KEYMILE," explains Roger Kraus, key account manager at Deutsche Bahn for Telekom Germany. For the ‘call a bike’ solution, DB Kommunikationstechnik chose Telekom as a nationwide network supplier and long-standing, reliable mobile communications partner.

In addition to the network capacity and the M2M tariff offering, tailored to the ‘call a bike’ solution, Telekom Germany is also providing DB Kommunikationstechnik with the new M2M service portal for flexible SIM-card management.

"DB KT particularly likes the online overview of the connection status and the usage data for all active SIM cards, as well as the software interface for easy integration into the ‘call a bike’ architecture," said Lothar Müller, head of sales development at Telekom Germany.