Croatian operator Hrvatski Telekom has placed eSim technology in the new Greyp G6 electric bicycle, produced by Croatia-based Greyp Bikes. The so-called eMTB (electric mountain bike) combines bicycle components, high technology, and constant internet connectivity. The mobile connectivity allows owners to remotely control certain bicycle functions and to locate the bike, detect theft attempts, warn a potential thief to stop and, if necessary, remotely disable the bike. Thanks to Hrvatski Telekom, every Greyp G6 will come with an internet connection usable in 104 countries worldwide, with data costs to be paid by the operator until at least 2022. The bike itself, which comes in three versions, is priced from €6,499 (US $7,368) to €7,499 (US $8,502).
This initiative from Hrvatski Telekom represents an extension of the connected-car concept, already well established, to the world of biking. An eMTBs is essentially a battery-assisted bike; the user transmits power to the wheels by pedaling, but the battery kicks in and provides extra power to make it possible to go more quickly up hills, accelerate out of potentially dangerous situations and get greater control over movement whenever needed.
In addition to GPS, a three-axis gyroscope and an accelerometer, the Greyp G6 has the built-in eSIM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a USB-C port. With the internet connectivity provided by Hrvatski Telekom, the bike rider can access services such as navigation, data about the current ride and a video feed from a front or rear camera into a smartphone mounted on the handlebars. The connectivity-based features that work when the rider is not with the bike are very helpful in terms of security, theft prevention and location in the event that one forgets where the bike is or needs to track it. All these services are accessed via a proprietary app (currently Android only, with an iOS version said to be coming later in 2019).
The fact that a mobile operator co-developed this smart bike and has embedded its SIM in the bike itself is noteworthy for several reasons. First, it represents a parallel with connected cars, and although the eMTB is certainly a niche product compared to a car—and even compared to a high-end connected car—it is relatively new product that is likely poised to grow in popularity, especially in developed markets. And even if there is not a large quantity of business to be done here, the Greyp G6 is a rolling advertisement for how advanced the mobile operator is and how willing it is to embrace and facilitate new technological trends. This may be a small corner of the IoT space, but it is a significant one in terms of publicity and brand enhancement. Including three or more years of free data along with purchase of a Greyp G6 may seem very generous, but it is actually a solid investment for Hrvatski Telekom.