Moreover, in January 2022, we started a two-year trial of an IoT-linked electrically-assisted bicycle sharing service for residents of apartments in Japan*3. Demand for electrically-assisted bicycles has recently increased due to their convenience and comfort for short-distance trips. However, owning an electrically-assisted bicycle is sometimes difficult for those living in an apartment with a small parking space or because use of the bicycle is infrequent. For this reason, we decided to conduct a field trial of a closed bicycle sharing service where the IoT-linked electrically-assisted bicycles are shared among residents of the same apartments, to assess the feasibility of the service and identify potential issues in service operations. In this trial, six households in "noiful base Komagome"*4, a rental property managed by our group company, share three IoT-linked electrically-assisted bicycles stationed in the apartment. Residents can reserve and unlock the bicycles using a dedicated application. The property manager monitors the usage of the IoT-linked electrically-assisted bicycles through a customized management software. When a bicycle's battery becomes low, the manager replaces it with a fully charged one stored in the charging locker. We are seeking to add value to properties that are further away from the nearest train station and also utilize the batteries in the charging locker for emergencies, such as a power blackout. Based on the results from this trial, we aim to develop a new and highly convenient transportation service.
Moreover, as a model for "products as a service," we have implemented a scheme to provide display cases with refrigerators/freezers, combined with a refurbishment service for those refrigerators and freezers: Instead of selling refrigeration equipment to supermarkets, convenience stores or other food retailers, the service offers "food refrigeration" as a value.
The refurbishment scheme focuses on inspecting and repairing display cases that have been used at retail chain stores for reuse at other retail stores. These services are expected to reduce maintenance and energy costs, and at the same time it will facilitate cheaper, low-budget store renovations by making business management more efficient.