Q&A: Getting to know CNA COO, Yann Chermat

In our latest Q&A blog, we speak to Yann Chermat about his role as Chief Operational Officer at CNA. We also discuss some of the biggest trends affecting the world of public transport ticketing.

1.       Please tell us about yourself and why you decided to accept the role of COO at Calypso Networks Association?


I graduated from the French engineering school, Supélec and began my career at Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), the national railway for France. Here, I was Assistant Project Manager for electronic payment information systems before I moved into managing ticketing systems as Head of Technical Expertise.


During this time, I started contributing to the work of Calypso Networks Association (CNA) as an SNCF representative. For over 14 years, I had the pleasure of working alongside representatives from organizations around the globe, who were similarly excited to share knowledge and drive open and innovative mobility solutions!


I witnessed how important cooperation and collaboration is when it comes designing sustainable, interoperable, and accessible mobility systems. Becoming Chief Operational Officer at CNA therefore felt like a natural and exciting transition, and a great opportunity to share and expand my insight and experience!


I would like to personally thank my predecessor, Philippe Vappereau, for leading CNA to become the flourishing community it is today. I am very much looking forward to continuing this work and championing CNA’s objectives on an international level.


2.       What are the biggest trends impacting the world of public transport?


It may be 2024, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still present.  Travel patterns and passenger behaviours are significantly harder to predict and passenger numbers remain lower than they used to be.

For transport operators and authorities, this creates an increasing need to offer a variety of services that will accommodate varying usage patterns. We must ensure that all passengers, from everyday commuters to occasional customers and tourists, have a suitable ticketing offer.

However, there is also a desire to simplify the passenger experience. Private modes of transport, (i.e. the car), offer a seamless travel experience; to compete with this, authorities and operators must offer seamless ticketing alternatives.

One example of this is mobile ticketing, which is fluid, flexible and easily accessible – but not to all. Some passengers are unable, or unwilling, to embrace digital ticketing options and transport operators should be careful not to oversimplify their ticketing offerings, or risk excluding potential passengers. Public transport is for everyone.

Additionally, it’s no secret that inflation is affecting countries, operators, and authorities worldwide. Everyone is therefore looking to reduce costs where possible. We are very proud that using a sovereign ticketing system like Calypso means operators can control the costs of developing and maintaining systems. We hope this means that using Calypso technology will continue to be a big trend for the year ahead!


3.       How does Calypso technology support this evolving ecosystem?


CNA currently offers a wide range of technical solutions, including multiple card offerings, various applications and several security mechanisms. Our members are also constantly innovating and working to expand this range, so that Calypso technology can meet various operational needs and business models.

Our technology is based on open standards, flexible to change and above all else, independent. It is not tied to any manufacturer, vendor, or external influence, which makes it economical, durable, and adaptable to the constant evolution of technologies and external forces that impact the sector.

One example of this is Eclipse Keyple. This software allows transport networks to create bespoke solutions and supports the sustainability of terminals and systems, by making them much easier and more economical to upgrade. Another example is our Hoplink application, which supports interoperability and seamless travel across different networks, by allowing all tickets to be conveniently hosted in a single card or app.

It is important to us that Calypso technology empowers transport operators, authorities, and mobility providers to achieve simple, secure ticketing systems that can keep pace with the ever-evolving ecosystem.


4.       What are your main priorities as the new CNA COO? 


CNA has a dynamic community of members who are dedicated to designing quality products and services. As the association expands its global footprint, I want to encourage and facilitate collaboration, development and innovation.

Calypso technology is designed for the transport ticketing community, by the transport ticketing community, and this remains as true today as it did when the association was created over 20 years ago. By bringing together the brightest minds within mobility to share their ideas, experience and insight, we can deliver the best possible experience for end-users.

And as this technology continues to evolve, we can now explore its application to other use cases, such as secure access control for private premises or service stations.


5.       What aspects of the CNA community have impressed you most so far?

 Through our rich programme of in-person and virtual events, including our annual Partners Day and User Days, the association unites key players from across the transport ticketing and mobility communities, working together to advance secure, interoperable ticketing networks.

From authorities and operators to service providers and manufacturers, every member of the association is given the opportunity to engage and collaborate. We host a number of events throughout the year, providing an open forum for the community to discuss the evolving ecosystem. By attending these events, stakeholders are often reassured that they can support and evolve their ticketing systems in a cost-effective way for years to come.