NFC looks like the technology that has been slow to take off but that is now gaining momentum.
After Samsung and Visa announced a tie up for the 2012 London Olympics, now Everything Everywhere and Stagecoach have joined forces in order to launch the UK’s first Government-standard commercial deployment of mobile contactless transport ticketing, which could lead to a nationwide roll out across select bus and rail services in 2013.
The trial, already underway on the Stagecoach bus network in Cambridgeshire, enables a small cross section of bus users to receive, store and validate their bus tickets using their mobile phone. Everything Everywhere is providing each customer in the trial with a Quick Tap enabled mobile handset on its Orange mobile brand. Quick Tap is the umbrella name used for Orange’s NFC (Near-Field Communications) services, and the handsets used will feature the technology as well as a specially designed app, making them compatible with the local bus network’s smartcard readers. This will allow users to travel on Stagecoach buses across Cambridgeshire including the Cambridge Park & Ride and Guided Busway services.
The trial uses the Department of Transport’s preferred ITSO (Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation) smart ticketing technology, and will monitor the levels of customer convenience the Quick Tap service provides, as well as for operational and technical efficiencies. The trial also contributes to the
Government’s vision to deliver, along with transport operators and public sector bodies, the infrastructure to enable most public transport journeys to be undertaken using smart ticketing by December 2014
So, there is no getting away from it, NFC is here to stay and trials such as this can only help to gain knowledge and improve the system which in turn will bring down implementation costs.
Public awareness and education is key to the success of NFC and the more projects like this one involving Stagecoach can only be a good thing for the growing technology.