Every day, close to ten thousand journeys are made using the Tel-O-Fun bicycle-sharing system in Tel Aviv, Israel. Operated by FSM Ground Services Management, Tel-O-Fun provides over 1700 bicycles spread over 170 docking station in and around the city. Each docking station contains a terminal, where users are able to purchase subscriptions, rent, obtain and return bicycles – and the bicycles may be returned to any station, any time.
In order to identify a customer and release a bike for its use, every terminal must be connected to the main control center and able to process payment transactions. Reliable and fast communication is key to ensure a positive customer experience. To avoid costly roadwork involving council permits and road disruption, FSM wanted to implement a wireless solution, which would have to be rugged enough to withstand Tel Aviv's summer temperatures (40° C / 104° F) and high humidity levels.
While looking for companies to enable its solution, FSM contacted Orange as a network partner. As a result of the telecom company's strong relationship with Digi International as its established technology vendor, FSM decided to evaluate the Digi product range. After testing a number of different connectivity solutions, FSM chose the ConnectPort®, a wireless 3G router with multiple Ethernet ports to support terminal functionality. The router is also fully PCI-DSS Compliant, which is crucial since the terminals process payments from the bicycle renters. With extended operating temperature range and industrial enclosure, the ConnectPort is not at risk of failing or rusting due to the city's harsh environmental conditions.
With the success of the bicycle sharing solution in Tel Aviv, FSM is planning to expand Tel-O-Fun to other cities in Israel, and even to other countries. "We will definitely use Digi's equipment again since there have been no issues with connectivity, nor the Digi equipment in the field. The solution is always working, and working well," said Ofer Sela, FSM Ground Services Management. "We are also confident that the hardware will support future potential features of the bike rental system. For example, we hope to add Voice Over IP customer support to the terminals so customers can interact directly via voice and video to customer support staff."