Building bridges to advance contactless ticketing

In April 2021 we announced our Memorandum of Understanding with the NFC Forum, a standards body whose goal is to advance the use and developments of NFC technology. In this post, I wanted to take a moment to explain further the benefits of this collaboration to you, our members, the ticketing community.

Over the past 20 years, CNA and the NFC Forum have built up diverse, vibrant, and complementary member communities whose goal is to support the advancement and convergence of NFC services through open standards.

At CNA, we have grown to become a dynamic and dedicated network made up of a cross-section of the transport ticketing community, from public transport operators and authorities to manufacturers and solution providers. Collectively we are dedicated to advancing contactless ticketing within our respective cities and regions using standards defined by us, the transport community.

Since the NFC Forum was founded in 2004, they have developed a solid membership base of manufacturers and suppliers supporting the advancement of interoperable NFC technology and evolving its use as a trusted communications protocol.

By combining our respective expertise and, most importantly, ticketing community experiences, we can tailor educational materials that enables and inspires the wider transportation market to understand the benefits of embracing the full potential of NFC for a safe, sustainable and smart ticketing ecosystem.

Pushing boundaries (realistically)

By 2050 it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban settings, presenting a significant opportunity for transport authorities and operators to be a point of connection between people and a range of connected services.

Growing trends such as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and account-based ticketing (ABT) plays a significant role in shaping the future of urban mobility and ticketing, providing a joined-up, convenient and seamless end-to-end passenger experience across multiple transport modes. Authorities and operators now think about the first and last step of every passenger journey.

While modern contactless ticketing is already recognised as a fundamental pillar behind advanced urban mobility that supports a seamless, smarter and more convenient end-to-end ticketing experience, mapping out this vision in a realistic way that considers how technology can migrate and adapt to future requirements is key.

Our collaboration will work to define ticketing advancements from the perspective of travel providers, and their customers: the passengers. This enables us to discuss NFC requirements within the context of our unique needs and using relatable use case examples.

Open standards and open tendering

The potential of NFC ticketing will only be realised if a secure and trusted foundation is established that is open to all AND people understand how it should be implemented to optimise its capabilities.

This means:

  • Promoting competition and lowering NFC lifecycle management costs by avoiding vendor lock-in.
  • Supporting NFC innovation by removing fragmentation and creating a technically secure ‘baseline’ on which stakeholders can build upon.
  • Encouraging the use of open-source software, which is accessible and usable by all.
  • Advancing global ticketing standardisation through the development of interoperable systems and standards. This helps to share knowledge and reduce system costs, by reducing manufacturer costs.
  • Enabling mobility services to be combined.
  • Allowing operators to offer travellers seamless, end-to-end ticketing services. This means ensuring new digital solutions and services can be effectively ‘added on’ to deliver the on-demand seamless service requested by passengers today.

Our contribution to the collaboration ensures that contactless NFC ticketing ecosystems advance in a way that has incorporated the views of the widest possible cross-section of the ticketing community. You, the Calypso user.

Education and understanding

Without a doubt, now is the time to educate the public transport market on the benefits of using open and competitively sourced NFC solutions to upgrade cost-effectively and ensure sustainability.  Clear and consistent resources on the role of NFC communications in advancing contactless ticketing solutions must be promoted and be easily accessible.

The first joint output will be a white paper that articulates the benefits of NFC technology for public transport ticketing decision-makers, which includes specific information comparing QR-codes to NFC enabled tags. Information sharing is also taking place that identifies new use cases of NFC technology in transport and how the NFC community can develop solution/products to support this. Ongoing knowledge sharing is planned on the adoption, successes, challenges, and threats to NFC technology adoption for ticketing and MaaS solutions.

Want to get involved? Please contact us to find out more.