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Ticketing of the future

Posted: 13 June 2007 | ET | No comments yet

In 2005 Finnish company Fara Oy (formerly Buscom Oy) developed a new mobile solution that enabled public transport users to load serial and period cards to their mobile. When entering a vehicle the mobile is shown to a card validator in the same way as smart cards are and the reader deducts the balance as defined in the charge. The new mobile solution has been trialled successfully on buses in the city of Oulu, Finland and the feedback has been positive. It now looks like mobile ticketing is set to take off.

The mobile ticketing system works using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. According to ‘The NFC Forum’, a non-profit industry association that promotes the use of NFC short-range wireless interaction in consumer electronics, mobile devices and PCs: “NFC is a new, short-range wireless connectivity technology that evolved from a combination of existing contactless identification and interconnection technologies.”

In 2005 Finnish company Fara Oy (formerly Buscom Oy) developed a new mobile solution that enabled public transport users to load serial and period cards to their mobile. When entering a vehicle the mobile is shown to a card validator in the same way as smart cards are and the reader deducts the balance as defined in the charge. The new mobile solution has been trialled successfully on buses in the city of Oulu, Finland and the feedback has been positive. It now looks like mobile ticketing is set to take off.The mobile ticketing system works using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. According to ‘The NFC Forum’, a non-profit industry association that promotes the use of NFC short-range wireless interaction in consumer electronics, mobile devices and PCs: “NFC is a new, short-range wireless connectivity technology that evolved from a combination of existing contactless identification and interconnection technologies.”

In 2005 Finnish company Fara Oy (formerly Buscom Oy) developed a new mobile solution that enabled public transport users to load serial and period cards to their mobile. When entering a vehicle the mobile is shown to a card validator in the same way as smart cards are and the reader deducts the balance as defined in the charge. The new mobile solution has been trialled successfully on buses in the city of Oulu, Finland and the feedback has been positive. It now looks like mobile ticketing is set to take off.

The mobile ticketing system works using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. According to ‘The NFC Forum’, a non-profit industry association that promotes the use of NFC short-range wireless interaction in consumer electronics, mobile devices and PCs: “NFC is a new, short-range wireless connectivity technology that evolved from a combination of existing contactless identification and interconnection technologies.”

The Forum believes that products with built-in NFC will dramatically simplify the way consumer devices interact with one another, helping people speed connections, receive and share information and even make fast and secure payments.

Fara started the trial by testing the general functionality and usability of the system, such as being able to load mobile tickets at the public transport operators´ ticket office. Testing was then expanded so that tickets could be loaded and paid by mobile via the operator network – the payment being made either by bank connection or credit card. The idea behind this was to make buying a ticket as simple as possible – appealing to both operators and passengers.

The trials have revealed a number of advantages for passenger. First, passengers always remember to bring their mobile phones with them – thus never being in the position of forgetting their ticket. The system also enables passengers to check the balance, ticket purchasing history and current ticket status directly from the display of a mobile, providing an alternative to smart cards. Making the ticketing process easier also helps encourage the general public to use public transport more regularly.

For the operator, the system enables the controller to also use a mobile phone to check if the passenger has paid for the trip. Thus public transport companies no longer have to buy separate control units, and the inspectors will have less equipment to carry around. This system has been adopted in the Finnish city of Turku.

Fara’s mobile ticketing solution trial used Nokia 3220 mobile phones and covers that support the NFC-technology. The intention is that in the future the system can also be used in mobiles designed by other manufacturers.

The mobile ticket is implemented in the RFID-circuit integrated in the mobile phone’s cover, which complies the definitions of NFC-technology. Fara’s card validator in a vehicle recognises the mobile as it does a smart card.

Operating at 13.56 MHz and transferring data at up to 424 Kbits/second, NFC provides intuitive, simple, and safe communication between electronic devices. NFC is both a ‘read’ and ‘write’ technology. Communication between two NFC-compatible devices occurs when they are brought within four centimetres of one another: a simple wave or touch can establish an NFC connection, which is then compatible with other known wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The underlying layers of NFC technology follow universally implemented ISO, ECMA, and ETSI standards. Because the transmission range is so short, NFC-enabled transactions are inherently secure. Also, the physical proximity of the device to the reader gives users the reassurance of being in control of the process.

In developing the mobile ticket, exceptional situations such as changing or disappearing of a mobile or the battery running-out have been taken into account. The solution now implemented for public transport applications will in future enable the implementation of other information applications to the same mobile platform.

In February 2007 FARA, a supplier of electronic ticketing systems for public transport, acquired Buscom. Since then FARA has promoted the mobile ticketing solution for applications beyond buses, including using the mobile phone as payment when travelling by bus, train, tram, or ferry.

According to FARA CEO Lars Lillegraven: “The public transport industry is willing to pay the price for smart, long term solutions which provides more convenience to passengers and operators alike, as well as secure payments. The race between the suppliers to offer the best is heating up, and with these new mobile payment products FARA is well positioned.”

Lillegraven believes that the mobile ticketing technology presents a real challenger to the smart card: “Basically, the technology is about securing transactions. Once the mobile phone is equipped with the mobile solution, it may be used to pay for parking, sport stadiums, ski lifts, or other places with a card reader in place. The technology is now emerging for expanding the use of mobile payment solutions, and we expect public regulation will adapt once the security concerns are resolved. The system can make many plastic cards redundant, as important information is saved in the mobile smart-card. The mobile phone will become the easiest payment card in the future.”

WHAT’S THE VALUE OF INTERMODAL, MULTI-PROVIDER REAL-TIME DATA IN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY?

Martijn van Aartrijk, Product Manager Traveler Information Services, GVB - Amsterdam Transport Company

Find out at the Intelligent Transport conference being held in London on 31 October 2017…

Martijn van Aartrijk, Product Manager Traveler Information Services at GVB – Amsterdam Transport Company will explain how Amsterdam’s new North-South metro line project will use real-time data to improve passenger experience.

Download the full Conference programme


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