Turin-based start-up Sherlock has a novel way of keeping track of stolen bikes and returning them to their owners. Orange Business Services is providing the connectivity.
One problem with traditional trackers is that they are conspicuous and can easily be removed. Another is that some don’t tend to integrate well with smartphones. This means that in some circumstances, such as bicycle theft, they aren’t very useful at all.
Turin-based start-up Sherlock has set out to solve these problems with a sneaky GPS device capable of hiding inside a bike’s handlebars. Sherlock’s anti-theft tracker also connects to an application on a smartphone, providing alerts on battery levels, bike movements and the bike’s location within 5 meters.
Sherlock and Orange sign deal
To support its global expansion and ensure connectivity around the world, Sherlock has signed a three-year deal with Orange Business Services.
Sherlock will use embedded Orange SIM cards in its stealthy anti-theft device, which is currently being rolled out to customers in Europe and North America.
This combines a GPS module for localization with a GPRS module for Internet connectivity and low-energy Bluetooth. The tracker comes with two years of network connectivity included in the €149 purchase price. After that time is up, users will be asked to enter a payment method to confirm a €3 per month subscription, which can be canceled at any time.
Bikes can “shout for help”
The undetectable Sherlock device will empower cyclists to alert authorities when their bike is stolen and provide all the information necessary to claim back their property. It also works as a unique identifier for each bicycle by using its ‘bike passport’ feature. This digital document was designed in conjunction with Turin City Police and holds all the information needed to prove ownership of the bike in the case of theft.
As with many start-up founders, Sherlock CEO Pierluigi Freni was inspired to develop the product in response to personal experience. “The idea of Sherlock was born after experiencing bike theft first-hand,” he said. “Sherlock establishes a direct connection between the bicycle and its owner, giving the bicycle a voice to shout for help.”
“Orange Business Services will help us provide cyclists with the peace of mind they deserve thanks to its robust, reliable connectivity, which is available seamlessly worldwide.”
A vital aspect of the device’s functionality will be reliable connectivity that can provide accurate GPS positioning. To ensure this, Orange SIM cards are installed in the devices during manufacturing and tested before they are shipped. Connectivity with Orange means will allow the tracker to work straight out of the box and roam different networks for the best connection.
Fabrice de Windt, senior vice president at Orange Business Services, points out that simple devices like this will provide cyclists with peace of mind, not just a way to retrieve stolen property. “In recent years, cycling has boomed in popularity, and this has led to growth in the premium bike market. Cars have had anti-theft devices for many years, but until now, the bike industry was lagging behind,” he said.
“With Sherlock, cyclists no longer need to worry about having an expensive bike stolen. The Orange collaboration with Sherlock proves how digital transformation can be a disruptive force, creating new services that respond to people’s changing needs and expectations”.