CHARLES WEIR, founder and CTO of mobile technology pioneer Penrillian, addressed this week’s Conservative Party Conference in Manchester with a speech about the history and future of ticketing technology.

Speaking to an event comprising transport policymakers and public transport operators, Weir presented a vision of how mobile technology will shape the future of how we travel.

Weir was invited to speak because Penrillian is one of the world’s most experienced developers of mobile payment technology. Millions of people use its software every day, from contactless payment solutions and wireless dongles to ticket apps developed for major clients including Mastercard, EE, O2, TUI and Vodafone.

His speech outlined his predictions for key trends for 2016 and beyond. Penrillian’s CEO Joanne Thompson, who joined Penrillian following a career leading technology companies, including as MD of Serco’s Transport Technology division, was present to explain the significance of his predictions to this industry:

Public attitudes. Three quarters of public transport users surveyed expressed the desire to be able to use their mobile devices to plan and pay for transport. This number will only increase, as mobile technology becomes the norm across all age ranges.

Industry attitudes. Public transport operators are driven primarily by their need to drive down fixed infrastructure costs such as ticket offices and machines, and to resolve inefficiencies such as bottlenecks at barriers. They are also under pressure from Government to adopt UK standards such as ITSO and to introduce interoperability of ticketing systems between regions.

M-ticketing (Mobile Ticketing) is evolving from visual ticketing using technologies such as QR and Bar code to ‘Smart’ ticketing using technologies such as physical smartcards and contactless mobile communication (NFC).

With the advent of ‘Smart’ ticketing, standards such as EMV and ITSO, including proprietary systems such as Oyster are shaping the way contactless technology is used to make travel easier.

The next step can see the phone replacing the smartcard altogether. It will act as the actual ticket, not a QR code equivalent. We could then see the proliferation of wearable tech – such as wristbands, rings or badges – for example so school bus users are not risking handling an expensive gadget; it can remain in their bag.

Personalised transport. Passenger data obtained from Mobile technology will allow transport operators to personalise their offering to individual users. Big data and predictive software will be able to detect patterns in use, habits and preferences. On a macro scale this will allow them to understand usage, manage capacity and prevent bottlenecks; and on a personal scale they will be able to tailor better user experience, commercial offers and loyalty schemes to every passenger.


Media contacts: Oliver Chesher / James Hennigan, Galibier PR