Building a platform
Also available in Dutch.
Building a bike share platform is more than just technique. It’s a complete philosophy. Instead of creating a closed, one-size-fits-all solution, you open up your software system to multiple products. By combining different concepts you are able to target many different areas, share the cost and improve your business from the lessons learned along the way. Bikesharing must not be seen as many separate products but as a combination of products that together provide the best mobility solution for a specific business, city or even country.
A key outcome of building a platform is having both modular and partially open software. Modular software means that the whole platform is divided into separate modules, each responsible for their own core task. It also means that new modules can be added to the system to integrate different types of lock or bike. This reduces the complexity of the system as it grows while also ensuring it remains reliable in the future.
Open software means that it should be as easy as possible to add new products to the system and for it to connect to other platforms. If an app developer, for example, would like to show their users information about our bikes this should be possible by making use of our Application Programming Interface. This API should follow a set of commands that need to be formatted for the system. This would mean that other systems could use the same format of commands to interact with it.
An essential part of building a platform is creating efficient products because of the lessons learned and the cost sharing aspect. But this rule doesn’t always apply, especially when the participants all have commercial agendas and the platform solution enters a public sphere. In this scenario, working with the local government is an essential part of not only creating an efficient platform but also an effective one.
The modularity of the platform is not only evidenced by the ability of adding endless bike and lock types but also by using the geofencing technique. By having the ability to track the bikes, users and locks, X-Bike can implement regulatory rules that can be monitored in real time and enforced digitally. Therefore, regulatory enforcement personnel can be tasked in the most efficient way. As a result of the regulations being set by the local governments, the effectiveness of the platform is guaranteed to favour the city and its inhabitants.
The combination of all of these aspects creates an open, reliable and long lasting platform. Modular software provides a platform that can withstand both software and hardware failures. Making use of open source standards to ensure that the platform is able to integrate with different products and services will guarantee a long lasting platform.