Why the 2020s Will Be a Defining Decade for Smart Ticketing


As the pandemic has changed the world, cash is making way for virtual payments.


In the midst of the global payment disruption, smart ticketing has become a mega-trend. Contactless cards have gained impetus over the concern that cash might spread COVID-19, preempting more industries to go cashless. What has come as a boon for the smart-ticketing industry is the penetration of digitization—cash is making way for virtual payments.


Korea was contemplating the decision to stop minting coins by 2020, while India scrapped 86 percent of its banknotes in November 2016. According to a study of payment habits conducted in Sweden, cash accounts for merely 13 percent of in-store payments. In addition, seven out of ten consumers can reportedly manage without cash, with 50 percent of merchants expected to do away with cash payments by 2025.


With novel  smart-ticketing technologies that can detect an app on individuals' smartphones and charge them automatically making a headway, queues at stations are gradually becoming a thing of the past. According to U.K.-based non-profit organization  ITSO, 14.1 million smart tickets were sold in the United Kingdom between Jan. 6 and Mar. 3, 2019, and more than 20 million smart cards are said to be in circulation across U.K. bus, rail and train networks.


At a time when smart innovations have forayed into almost every facet of life, stakeholders are doing away with the costly maintenance of ticketing system that would, more often than not, lead to ineffective validation, a high environmental footprint and lost tickets. Solutions are being implemented using interconnected smart transportation technologies, which can seamlessly substitute legacy systems.


The trend for mobile ticketing innovations has become the linchpin following an upsurge in the use of smartphones. According to  Statista, there are around three billion smartphone users globally, and the numbers are slated to shore up in the ensuing period. Mobile ticketing is the next big thing, as it will enable people to integrate other modes of transportation, including ridesharing, taxis and bike rentals—so much so that smart technology providers can provide agencies with data and inputs that will help government bodies regarding their underused and most-used lines, thereby helping to reduce congestion.


With the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, China, Japan and Australia foraying into smart public-transport systems, integration into smart-city systems—such as making navigation seamless and traffic monitoring and management more convenient—will become a new normal.

Boosting the Customer Experience via RFID

At the forefront of smart ticketing is the growth of RFID technology. With the movement of vehicles uncertain on the heels of certain conditions, including dispatching times of irregular vehicles, traffic congestion and unexpected delays, the advent of smart bus ticketing systems using RFID and the Internet of Things (IoT) has hit the sweet spot in the smart-ticketing market. While RFID technology is used for scanning RFID cards, the IoT is sought after for GPS to check current locations.


A slew of companies are embedding RFID chips, which can transmit payment information and are dubbed "wave and pay" and "tap and go." RFID chips have become a go-to-technology at venues, including in parking garages, quick-service restaurants (QSRs), movie theaters and convenience stores. RFID is at the vanguard of pioneering smart-ticketing systems, following the penetration of contactless-payment systems. Adding impetus will be smart cards that use embedded microchips to electronically store data, allow payments to be tracked and monitor ticket validity.


Smart Cards Drive Value-Chain Proposition

Smart cards are improving, and operators tend to use ticketing systems to gain access to a cost-effective, trusted and efficient service which will help them streamline their supply chain process by boosting revenue. Such cards can also help manage fraud—the National Concessionary Travel scheme in Scotland has shifted to smart cards, in fact—which has led to considerable savings by exhibiting the capability to use travel data to manage, identify and minimize this crime. It is pertinent to mention that smart cards are difficult to replicate and can be blocked when they are reported stolen or lost.


Switching to Smart with NFC

Unparalleled growth in the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in mobile ticketing and public transportation is setting the mega-trend among smart-ticketing manufacturers. The rate of NFC adoption, covering all operating systems and across all handset OEMs, is likely to witness a marked rise during the next five years or so. An unprecedented growth in NFC-enabled wearables and smartphones capable of handling ticketing services, as well as a surge in demand for convenient mobile-ticketing options, has boded well for smart-ticketing manufacturers.


NFC-enabled tickets are sustainable, durable and more convenient than plastic cards, making them popular among travelers. For operational efficiency and customer engagement, NFC will be replete with investments. Specifically, pharmaceutical and transport companies will cash in on the benefits of NFC, and this will help them with asset tracking, cashless payments, and time and attendance tracking.


Enterprises have zeroed in on the prevailing opportunities and sheer versatility of NFC. The technology has become a turnkey solution for movie passes, real-time updates, reserving restaurant seats, redeeming reward points, booking train tickets, mobile banking and more.

The demand for smart tickets for public transport, sports and cultural tickets has risen significantly during the past several years, a vivid trend that can be witnessed in the 2020s. For instance, NFC will expand its footfall in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Stakeholders will need to look to developing customizable ticketing systems, and the future of ticketing will potentially be about smart tickets, rather than merely smart cards. Customers will also seek out affordability, as price will be pivotal in triggering the adoption of smart ticketing.


Source: RFID Journal