Following the success of public bike rental systems implemented in many European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam and London, the city of Tel Aviv in Israel wanted to provide a similar rental scheme for its residents and visitors. The system, Tel-O-Fun, is initiated by FSM Ground Services Management and provides over 1,700 bikes spread over 170 docking stations in and around the city of Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
Every day, close to ten thousand journeys are made using the bike-sharing system in Tel Aviv. There is a terminal at each docking station, where users are able to purchase subscriptions, rent and return bikes. The bike can be released at, and returned to any station, at any time, all year around.
In order to identify a customer and release a bike for its use, every terminal needs to be connected to the main control center. "Every action enacted at the different terminals in the street needs approval of the main system," explains Ofer Sela, CIO and CTO at FSM. "Communication needs to be reliable and fast in order to give the right service to the city and the schemes customers."
FSM wanted a wireless networking solution to provide the communication network for the terminals. It meant a faster solution deployment than a wired connection, and one that would not require costly roadwork involving council permits and road disruption.
The temperature in Tel Aviv goes up to 104°F in summer, with high levels of humidity from the sea. Since it could reach possible temperatures of 122°F within the terminals, Tel-O-Fun was looking for a rugged technology solution, able to withstand the humidity and high temperatures of the working environment.
While looking for companies to enable its solution, FSM contacted Orange as a network partner. As a result of the telecom companys strong relationship with Digi as its established technology vendor, FSM decided to evaluate the Digi product range for a suitable solution.
After testing different connectivity solutions, FSM chose Digi ConnectPort for its solution, as the range has multiple Ethernet ports to support terminal functionality. The routers are also fully PCI-DSS Compliant - crucial as the terminals process payments from the bike users.
The ruggedness of the Digi router was another crucial factor in the decision-- FSM needed a durable solution for the field.
"Tel Aviv is by the sea and even the harsh conditions of the city, such as the heat, rust and humidity, are not a problem for Digis routers," said Ofer Sela.
"I have been very positive about the results Digi delivers," said Ofer Sela. "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."
After the solutions great success 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 Digis 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," concluded Ofer Sela.