Calypso para ABT

What is Account-Based Ticketing (ABT)?

Members of the mobile ticketing community are increasingly interested in ticketing systems that rely less on “card-centric” solutions – where data is stored in portable objects and managed by terminals – in favour of “server-centric” solutions where data is stored and managed in a remote data centre.

In a ticketing system where portable objects contain only an identifier, all data related to the passenger’s ticketing is stored in a remote account. This is the basis of what we call “account-based ticketing” (ABT).

What are the benefits of ABT?

  • Improved customer experience by providing pay-as-you-go fares
  • Reduced operational costs, less complexity and reliance on hardware, enabled by moving to a centralised system
  • Greater insights, flexibility and control for public transport operators
  • Easier integration with MaaS systems

How can I get involved in the evolution of Calypso for ABT?

Since its creation, CNA has always worked to open up ticketing systems, including:

  • The card or ticket, addressed by the Calypso specifications, to ensure long-term usability.
  • The transaction itself, currently being advanced by the work of our Open SAM project team, to deliver an open, multisource security module.
  • The terminal software, supported by Eclipse Keyple the free, open-source SDK that enables freedom from proprietary solutions at this level.

The arrival of ABT systems has exposed a lack of common standards in the solutions proposed by various manufacturers for account-based mobility services.

This means that the exchanges between terminals and ABT servers are specific and different for each ABT offer, which risks leading PTAs and PTOs once again down a path toward expensive, proprietary schemes.

CNA members, aware of this risk, asked Calypso Networks Association to take up this issue, as it did when opening up other areas of transport ticketing.

The CNA Technical Committee for ABT

A CNA working group generated guidelines for the implementation of Calypso tools in Account Based Ticketing systems in 2019 and CNA launched a new Technical Committee for ABT in early 2024.

Its objective is to harness the latest advancements in Calypso standards, positioning it as a prominent access token tool and standardising data exchanges in ABT systems. The committee will prioritise interoperability, data security and integrity across a range of solutions, including cards, mobile and open payments.

If you’d like to get involved in this work, please submit a registration request to [email protected] and visit the WG1 Portal.

Where can I buy Calypso cards?

Multiple manufacturers provide Calypso cards.

All card products require functional certification to confirm that they fully conform to the Calypso specifications and therefore connect with a reader in the same manner regardless of supplier. All chips from Calypso cards must also achieve an EAL4+ security evaluation or dedicated security guidelines. Beyond the functional certification, CNA strongly recommends compliance with the RF certification promoted by the Smart Ticketing Alliance (STA).

CNA wishes to promote products that have all these certifications. This combination defines the CNA approval for Calypso cards.

Discover all CNA approved cards.

If you want to test Prime, Light and Basic cards with the Calypso Test Kit, please get in touch with the team.

How does Calypso support ABT?

Calypso helps operators to manage additional risks that are not present in traditional card-centric systems. One of the biggest risks is potential network issues that would prevent remote validity checks.

To manage these risks, the Calypso standard enables ABT systems to make decisions based on data securely stored within the customer’s media.

The guarantee of uniqueness, and strict management of the Calypso Serial Number for each Calypso Portable Object, enables the customer’s media to be used as the ABT identifier. This makes the Calypso standard highly suited for ABT systems and allows card-centric and ABT systems to operate easily side-by-side.

To learn more about ABT, its challenges and its benefits, read our ABT white paper and check out our collaborative whitepaper with OSPT Alliance: Why consider open standards for Account-Based Ticketing

CNA members who want to know more about using the Calypso standard for Account Based Ticketing can access our ABT guidelines, produced by our working group of transport operators and ticketing system suppliers.