Global markets might be tightening for many cycling products but one award-winning accessory by Melbourne company Knog is enjoying alarming popularity.
The cycling accessories brand recently claimed the new Urban category at the 2023 Design and Innovations Awards in Europe, with its Scout security device launched last year.
The success is the latest in a series of awards claimed by the Scout and comes as Knog struggles to keep pace with demand for the anti-theft alarm and bike finder.
Hugo said while a category win at the highly coveted awards was satisfying enough, it was especially sweet because it was in one of the industry’s fastest growing categories.
“What we’ve noticed recently in the US data we’re getting is that trackers are now the biggest growth category in new technology. Clearly, we’ve come up with this idea at the right time,” he said.
“We wanted to ensure it was something more than just another tracking device.”
Hugo remarked that the Scout stands apart from much of the competition because it goes a few steps further.
“The platform has been available for other people to develop using the Apple ‘Find My’ network but not many have incorporated it into their own proprietary product,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people who have made holders for Airtags. But going that one step further and working out how you can improve a product by adding user features like the alarm is key to the fundamental drive to make that product.
“We wanted to ensure it was something more than just another tracking device. That is probably the big winner with the Scout.
“It’s so small, the 85-decibel alarm is so loud, and the battery lasts so long. From a usability perspective, it ticks all the boxes.”
Long Development Process
He said Scout benefitted from an interrupted and prolonged development period.
“We’ve been working in this space for about three years developing the product and were originally developing it for a US company, Tile,” Hugo explained.
“We were working in conjunction with them but when we saw the announcement that Apple was opening up its own Find My product, we put the development of the original hardware on hold and waited to find out more.
“That has taken time but it meant as we worked through that development curve, we were able to problem solve.
“The length of time to develop the product really enhanced the final outcome, including how the software would work from a user point of view.”
At 107mm long, 25mm wide and 8mm deep, the Scout can fit discreetly under a bottle cage or within a neon-yellow cover designed to warn potential thieves. Anti-tamper screws make it particularly difficult to remove the device from a bike.
The system uses Apple’s ‘Find My’ app to locate the bike, relying on the same Bluetooth tracker as Apple’s AirTags. To help prevent the bike being stolen in the first place, the Scout has a motion sensor – which the owner can activate using a Knog iOS app – and a powerful 85-decible alarm that will sound if someone tries to move or tamper with the bike. At the same time, the system sends a notification to the owner’s mobile and allows them to see the device’s location.
The Scout’s battery lasts up to six months on a full charge and can be charged via USB-C.
Defying Industry Slowdown
“At a time when the industry is clearly faced with an oversupply of some products, the Scout has cut through all that in Europe,” Hugo said.
“When a lot of people are turning to e-bikes and the base prices for them is so much higher, it really does give owners some peace of mind.”
“People have been desperate to get the product in their stores and in most cases it’s sold out. There’s been a waiting list of people wanting to get their hands on it.
“The retailers and the stores I’ve talked with over the last couple of years, while we’ve been developing this, have said this is something we should be developing with every bike because bike theft is such a huge issue.
“When a lot of people are turning to e-bikes and the base prices for them is so much higher, it really does give owners some peace of mind.
“There’s clearly a number of competitive products that use GPS rather than the meshing system Bluetooth but the prices on those products starts at 50 to 100% higher than the Scout and then you have subscription costs.
“The Scout is a great solution for people who don’t want a product that is too expensive.”
Hugo said he is hopeful an Android equivalent will become available in the future.
“As soon as that happens, we’ll see what we can do with that as well,” he said.
“We’ve also got some other products in this category we’re trying to bring out now, to expand it to other related sporting products – things like snowboards, kayaks and canoes that are frequently stolen.”