Velco’s history began in 2016, when Pierre Régnier, Romain Savouré and Johnny Smith embarked on the soft mobility journey, with the goal of offering cyclists a connected handlebar capable of increasing the safety of people and bicycles. Wink Bar is therefore developed by Velco’s growing teams, through fundraising and awards obtained in international innovation competitions. CES Las Vegas, Design Observer, Lépine Competition, Eurobike… Wink Bar is a major innovation that allows Velco to make a remarkable entry into the bicycle market. When it goes on sale in 2019, Velco will offer Wink Bar in specialized bike stores for individuals, but also for tourism professionals with an integrated itinerary solution, for bike fleet managers and for cycling professionals who wish to install Wink Bar as an original equipment on their bikes.
Wink Bar, the connected handlebar: what is it?
Wink Bar can be installed on any bike and controlled from a smartphone. The user benefits from GPS-assisted navigation, real-time geolocation of his bike and integrated automatic headlights.
With Wink Bar, all bikes are transformed into connected bikes with an intuitive and secure experience for the end user.
Geolocation in case of theft
Thanks to the tracking system integrated into the handlebars, the promise is to be able to find your bike. By subscribing to an alert service (notification on the phone in case of suspicious movement) and real-time geolocation in case of theft (live position tracking on the map), the bike can be easily found in France or anywhere in the world! A patented tracking system that has proven its worth to end-users, who have a reliable solution to the problem of bicycle theft.
With our patented WinkNav navigation system, the handlebars lead the owner to his destination in complete safety by offering a fast and bike-friendly route. The user enters his destination on the application, puts away his phone and is guided by the light blocks integrated into the handlebars. With LEDs, the handlebars indicate the directions to take: turn left soon, turn now, take the third exit of the traffic circle, make a U-turn… Comfort and safety for the cyclist.
Don’t go unnoticed anymore, thanks to our intelligent lighting system. The two headlights integrated in the front of the handlebars have several operating modes, which can be adjusted from the mobile application by the user. They can be set to fixed (always on), flashing or automatic, they will then light up according to the ambient light to allow the cyclist to be seen by other road users.
The difficulties encountered by Wink Bar
As soon as it was launched on the market, we observed several major difficulties to ensure the success of Wink Bar. The connected handlebar is a breakthrough innovation, which is therefore by nature unknown to the general public, and which requires strong media coverage and strong support in terms of distribution, which we were unable to provide from its launch. The European ambition to deploy the Wink Bar required major investments for its promotion and massive implementation. From the point of view of the boutiques, Wink Bar presented strong assets due to its promise of safety and comfort for cyclists, but remained difficult to explain and present to customers who were new to the concept of connected bicycles. In addition, 94% of the Wink Bar was manufactured in France with local and trusted partners, which allowed for industrial success but at a cost that was too high for the end customer. As with any new product integrating a new technology, a few adjustments still had to be made once it was launched on the market. Unfortunately, under these conditions, Wink Bar did not receive the expected success in its first months of commercialization. Velco therefore had to make decisions to reorient the company towards more rewarding projects based on the key skills of our talented teams.
Wink Bar: production has stopped to focus on new products
Velco has decided to discontinue the production and marketing of Wink Bar, aimed at both professionals and individuals. Capitalizing on the cutting-edge technology integrated into Wink Bar and deployed in the Velco software suite, the company decided to create 2 new products based on tracking, use and exploitation of data to put them exclusively at the service of urban mobility professionals. The Nuotrax and Onitrax products were therefore created in 2020 to offer two-wheeler brands (scooter bikes or scooters and motorcycles), manufacturers, assemblers, engine manufacturers, private fleet managers, public transport operators… a mobility revolution thanks to connectivity. Differentiation of products by service, optimization of maintenance costs, real solution against theft and loss of vehicles, better knowledge of users, their needs and their behavior to adjust products and infrastructures … Connectivity, thanks to the products and above all to the Velco suite of business software customized for each mobility player, makes it possible to accompany the strong acceleration of the market for sustainable mobility in cities. We are therefore delighted with this new direction which allows us, alongside professionals but with the needs of the user at the center of our approach, to transform urban mobility in depth so that it is smarter, safer, greener and accessible to all. This is the ambition that our three co-founders had in 2016, and which will be fully realized in 2021. If Wink Bar has been a great entry point for the company’s success, Velco has been able to reshuffle the cards at the last minute to hear the market’s responses and adapt to the needs of professionals.
For all requests from private individuals related to Wink Bar functionalities, please contact our support: support (@) velco.fr