in a more and more connected world, a more and more connected mobility will become a basic requirement. to integrate all means of mobility into the bigger mobility ecosystem is the challenge all mobility players are facing currently - no matter whether we talk scooters, ebikes, cars, transport or public transportation. all will need to be integrative parts of the bigger ecosystem in order to make autonomous driving work and mobility in itself safer.
what does that mean for the bike industry?
the times that bikes were a ‚hardware only’ product seem to come to an end, particularly with ebikes being the innovation drivers of the industry. but even the ebike industry is still mostly concerned with integrating drive systems as smoothly as possible and to differentiate their offering into a growing number of ebike segments. real connectivity, besides basic features such as navigation, geo-tracking or linking APIs is hardly happening. this certainly has to do with the fact, that in the past years, you didn’t have to innovate much to sell your products. market demand continuously exceeded supply.
that comfortable position will be challenged. the world is changing. and with that the lifestyle of people - as well as their motivations and needs towards biking and mobility in general.
the current crisis clearly boosted the already existing trend towards everything online, digital and connected. just as much as we’ve experienced the bike retail world turning online and multichannel, we will see the bike ride experience itself evolving from analog to a more digital and connected play.
offering new and richer ride experiences, driven by connectivity, will naturally lead to new business opportunities and business models.
another effect of this crisis is, that the need to transform urban mobility got mega-evident. fact is, the car-centric times are passé, and while public transportation is perceived as risky, bikes and ebikes seem to offer advantages that let them claim a stronger role in urban traffic. municipalities are shifting their priorities. where ever you look, communities are increasing their bike infrastructure to support the shift. yet, with more bikers on the roads, bike safety becomes a mayor concern. DOTs and other ecosystem members will push for a faster integration of micro-mobility into the bigger mobility ecosystem to ensure a safe and efficient traffic flow. the need for V2X will drive new standards, products and services.
connectivity - holistically understood - will be the magic that makes tomorrows mobility flourish and diversify.
the question is, who will lead the pack and stake its claim? the bike OEMs? the drive system suppliers? MaaS providers? or will other connectivity or data driven new market entries challenge the established bike market players?