HCE and the evolution of smart travel ticketing

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2017.

Earlier this month, Director of Nevis Technologies David Braddock penned an article about the evolution of smart travel ticketing for EuroTransport. As Braddock notes, smart card-based ticketing has successfully provided a convenient way to travel with the ability to simply tap and go.

“[However], with smartphones becoming a key component of our everyday lives, the smart money is on those who look beyond smart card-based ticketing to the game-changing technology of secure mobile ticketing [with] the use of Host Card Emulation (HCE),” he explained. “HCE is the next revolution in not only transportation, but across the entire customer experience both online and in the physical space.”

Indeed, HCE enables transport operators to securely transition ticketing from physical to virtual smart cards – all while maintaining compatibility with existing smart infrastructure. This reduces the requirement for physical card issuance while empowering consumers by allowing them to browse, purchase and download tickets whenever or wherever it suits them.

As Braddock points out, Nevis Technologies (a joint venture between Rambus and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) provides smart ticketing technology to multiple operators. Moreover, Nevis Technologies recently kicked off an HCE ticketing pilot on the Glasgow subway, offering selected passengers the opportunity to travel by using their phones.

“What makes [HCE] technology so appealing for operators is that it can be used on existing smart ticketing infrastructure which supports the UK’s ITSO interoperable specification,” he said. “The benefits to both operators and consumers are many. Operators improve cost efficiencies by reducing the number of physical smart cards or paper tickets to issue and manage, in addition to reducing the reliance on and upkeep of ticket desks and vending machines. It also allows operators to move staff onto station concourses to help travelers directly, enhancing the customer experience of travelers.”

Meanwhile, consumers benefit through a frictionless experience that eliminates the queue and fumbling for cash to collect tickets. Security, says Braddock, is another benefit, as the encryption underpinning HCE is similar to security technology that has been used for years in the payments space.

“Perhaps the most exciting benefit, and one that is still in its early days in terms of potential, is the possibility that comes from data and geo-location. This takes HCE beyond just being a radical improvement to ticketing, but the entire transport ecosystem infrastructure of the future,” he added. “[With] the ability to see and analyze customer behavior in real-time, the operator gains a competitive advantage and can open additional revenue streams through these third-party services.”

For example, says, Braddock, the operator could help manage station traffic during periods of busy congestion by sending live updates to the customer’s phone, or incentivize riders to use alternative routes through promotional offers in conjunction with a local shop.

“With the technology available today, operators can take advantage of the many benefits of secure HCE ticketing and offer even greater convenience to their customers and usher in the new wave of frictionless travel,” he concluded.

Download 'Going Mobile with Rambus HCE Ticketing'