Masabi, a developer of mTicketing technology for the transport sector, today unveiled a proof-of-concept Android application called 'Smart Card Buddy Beta' that is capable of reading and displaying the contents of ITSO-based transport ticketing smart cards.
This is the first application from Masabi's Beta Labs programme and the technology paves the way for smart card ticket validation on low-cost smartphone hardware and eventually allowing passengers to buy rail tickets or 'top-up' credit for their smart card on their handset rather than at an in-station terminal.
Although the proof of concept app is designed to operate with the ITSO smart card standard being used in the UK, it could be amended to be used with any NFC contactless technology. ITSO is the UK's national standard for enabling integrated and interoperable smart ticketing and is being employed by transport operators such as Go-Ahead, Stagecoach and Newport Transport as well as in schemes in Scotland, Wales, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire and Cheshire amongst others¹.
"Masabi's Smart card Buddy Beta has the potential to bridge two rapidly growing but separate technologies - mobile phones and smart cards. This proof of concept app shows that the new generation of NFC enabled smartphones can operate as ticket readers thereby letting passengers and inspectors check what's on a smart card without the need for specialist hardware. In the future, users could even buy tickets or credit for their smart card using their phone - this once again would limit queues at ticket machines and eliminate the complexity surrounding setting 'home stations' for smart card top ups," said Tom Godber, CTO of Masabi.
Masabi's mobile ticketing technology allows passengers to search for train times and buy tickets which can then be either picked-up at stations, displayed as an on-screen barcode or via in-built NFC. Its applications support the majority of mobile handsets and are currently offered by a dozen UK rail operators and ticket retailers including thetrainline.com, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains. It has also won its first contract outside the UK with the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) which is set to launch in Q4.