Why HCE is a “game changer” for smart ticketing

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017.

Richard Moore, a Product Manager at Rambus Ecebs, recently spoke with Transport Ticketing Global staff about host card emulation (HCE) and why the software-based architecture is a “game changer” for smart ticketing.

As Moore explains, HCE creates a virtual smart card on NFC-enabled smartphones, allowing the mobile devices to act as secure ‘virtual’ travel tickets. Similar to a travel smart card, when the smartphone is ‘waved’ over a ticketing barrier, the ticket is validated and the barrier opens.

“HCE uses software that is [specifically] developed to meet the requirements of the transport operator and the ecosystem it will be used in. It is independent,” he told Transport Ticketing Global staff. “This means the software can work across all NFC-enabled smartphones and network carriers. This simplifies the route to market and makes secure mobile ticketing accessible to the mass market.”

According to Moore, HCE accelerates transaction speed while offering passengers a convenient travel experience.

“[This means] no more waiting in queues at ticket offices or ticket vending machines and no need to wait for tickets in the post. This opens up choice for travelers and operators in how they enable [passengers] to access ticketing,” he stated. “Operators can provide a secure mobile ticket for their customers, which gives them fraud protection and reduces their requirement to issue plastic smart cards which provides additional cost savings.”

While the benefits of mobile ticketing are clear for both transport operators and travelers, says Moore, utilizing smartphones for ticketing creates additional opportunities for operators to interact with their customers.

“[For example], ‘how was your journey today?’ ‘Did you have a seat on your train?’” he continued. “Ancillary third party offerings could also be provided, [such as] ‘here is the weather at your destination’ [and] ‘here are your options for ongoing travel.’ There are vast opportunities to offer travelers more than just a ticket.”

As Moore points out, the introduction of new technologies such as HCE will influence how other aspects of the transport ticketing ecosystem adapt.

“Access to a transport network, for example, could become frictionless using geolocation beacons rather than turnstiles and [analyzing] the data of how and when people like to travel, could be used to offer unique ticketing prices that directly meets [passenger] needs,” he added.

It should be noted that Rambus Ecebs recently launched a comprehensive mobile ticketing product suite that utilizes Host Card Emulation technology to securely load virtual smart cards onto smartphones for the public transport industry. The suite includes an HCE Ticket Wallet Service and Ticketing App that enables transport operators to easily and securely transition from physical to virtual smart cards – all while maintaining compatibility with existing ITSO-based smart infrastructure.

According to Russell McCullagh, managing director at Rambus Ecebs, the comprehensive suite includes the HCE Ticket Wallet Service, which securely provisions and manages a virtual smart card to store tickets on the phone, as well as a configurable HCE Ticketing App, which provides consumers with an interface to purchase, fulfill and manage tickets. The Ticketing App, says McCullagh, also helps collect valuable traveler data and analytics for transport operators to optimize ticket offers, pricing, staffing and routes.

“The HCE Ticketing App is fully integrated with Rambus Ecebs’ suite of smart ticketing products and features a flexible interface with a complete set of APIs ready to connect with third-party solutions,” McCullagh explained. “The app enables travelers to load smart tickets to their phone at ticket vending machines. By adding Remote Ticket Download (RTD) software, which complements the app, smart tickets can be delivered immediately to a smartphone without needing to physically go to a ticket machine.”

Future plans for the Ticketing App, says McCullagh, includes additional value-added services such as account-based ticketing, integrated journey planning, real-time updates and third-party offers.

Interested in learning more about HCE for mobile ticketing? You can check out our product page here and our eBook on the subject here.

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