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We are excited about the impact that mobile and near field communication (NFC) technology could have on the transit and ticketing sector. Following Bell ID’s recent acquisition of smart card solutions company, Ecebs, we wanted to share our vision for the future.

With operators looking towards full-scale roll outs of mobile ticketing technology, it is transit network users and other early adopters that need to be given a glimpse of tomorrow and shown the benefits that NFC mobile ticketing can bring. 

Building on a previous blog which showcased "Bill & Ted’s Excellent NFC Adventure,"let’s welcome our NFC explorers back for their "Mobile NFC Transit & Ticketing Adventure."

Bill and Ted are attending a concert in the west of the city, needing to travel from the east via public transport. They meet in a cafe in the afternoon to agree their travel arrangements. 

Bill, who has just upgraded to the latest NFC-enabled smartphone, downloads the city transport NFC application to his device, uses the phone’s global positioning system (GPS) functionality to determine his station of origin and enters their destination into the handset. The application informs them that they will need to travel for the majority of the journey via the city metro system, completing their journey by bus. 

Bill selects two tickets and makes an EMV secured remote mobile payment from a payment card he has already loaded on the phone. Moments later the two tickets can be delivered over-the-air (OTA), or over-the-internet (OTI) via the café’s WiFi, using remote ticket download functionality. Bill immediately downloads his ticket onto his mobile NFC device. Ted, however, does not have a smartphone and instead wants to use his existing Cipurse contactless transit card. Bill uses his NFC device as a reader, touching the Cipurse card onto the back of his phone to download the ticket straight onto Ted’s card. Ted is now ready to join Bill on the NFC transit leg of their adventure. 

As they finish their coffees, Bill also adds an NFC event ticket application to his new mobile, quickly downloading the two “Young Stallions Tribute Band” concert tickets that he had purchased last week.

Bill and Ted use their NFC mobile and Cipurse card to enter the metro and board the train, exiting at their destination by touching their respective transit devices onto the turnstiles and head for the bus stop outside. When the bus arrives, the pair touch mobile device and card onto the bus reader to authenticate their tickets for the remaining part of the journey. 

The bus arrives at the venue allowing the friends to join the throng of people that have also made the journey to the event. Bill and Ted join the express queue for NFC ticket holders. When they reach the front of the queue, Bill taps his mobile NFC device on a reader held by the security staff on the door. Pictures of Bill and Ted, along with their ticket details, flash up on the screen of the reader so that the staff can confirm their right to enter the venue and which section their seats are in. NFC ticketing complete, they have quickly, easily, and cost effectively arrived at the show. 

The above scenario is a combination of processes that are currently technically possible and in most cases already in use. I have tried to demonstrate the value that mobile ticketing can bring to one journey, with streamlined ticketing for consumers, transport operators, and event organizers. 

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Latest posts by David Worthington
David Worthington
David is Principal Consultant for Chip and Payment Technology at Bell ID, a leading provider of lifecycle management solutions for tokens (e.g. smart cards, mobile NFC phones) deployed in single and multi-application programs.
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