Why Mobile Ticketing Needs to be More than A Virtualization Tool

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By Phil Sealy | 2Q 2018 | IN-5084

Mobile ticketing market drivers have been expanding with companies working to enhance proximity payment platforms and technologies. Service providers can collect valuable data from consumers in order to optimize and better target new innovations and services.

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The Drive to Mobile Ticketing


Although mobile ticketing is not a new concept, it is an area that has been evolving in terms of market drivers. Once considered a form of ticketing to help reduce the associated issuance costs linked to traditional smart card systems, it is now transforming into a dynamic opportunity, leveraging mobile devices to move beyond a simple card virtualization tool. Outside of the cost-saving paradigm are a multitude of mobile ticketing driving forces, including:

  • The addition of further value to a journey via personalized journey experiences.
  • The ability to use different feature-rich devices in order to access new markets. Mobile presents a significant diversification opportunity.
  • A platform from which to expand the service provider to traveler relationship, beyond the confines of owned transportation infrastructure.
  • Use existing infrastructure to offer new innovative ticketing acceptance platforms.
  • The ability to extend reach beyond ticketing and segue into the wider IoT opportunity.
  • The creation of a platform that centralizes the provider as an integral component within wider smart cities initiatives via automation, improved access to intelligence, and real-time access to data.

Apple and Google Are Leading the Way, but Why?


It is fair to say that Apple and Google are currently leading the mobile ticketing pack. Their respective mobile payment platforms and market activities have somewhat paved the way for ticketing, driven by account-based ticketing and open-loop acceptance, with the ticketing opportunity driven by payment convergence. The value of ticketing and its potential opportunity has not gone unnoticed and is a market that mobile payment leaders are aggressively targeting.

Apple has already announced support for the ticketing protocol FeliCa. Google also recently announced a partnership with NXP, integrating NXP’s MIFARE 2GO cloud service with Google Pay to enable the digitization of MIFARE-based credentials on mobile and wearables devices, pairing the partnership with the first commercial launch on the Las Vegas Monorail announced March 20, 2018.

In turn, this has singled an over-the-top (OTT) approach with OEMs and service providers, somewhat bypassing the transportation authorities, not in terms of the physical journey, but reaching over in order to cement themselves in an evolving market, where the opportunity extends well beyond the ticket, extending their respective proximity payment platforms and technology for the following reasons:

  • Improve reach and device use cases
  • Maintain top of wallet status
  • Part of wider IoT strategies and device-to-device interactions
  • Create further brand stickiness
  • Add value to existing services
  • Multi-application enablement and market convergence
  • New platform to interact with end users
  • Common synergies and technology use between payments and ticketing
  • Open-loop acceptance is the path to closed-loop applications, enabling OEMs to entrench themselves within a largely new and untapped market.

Moreover, ticketing and smart cities are viewed as integral parts of the wider IoT adjacencies opportunity. With products and business already in IoT end markets, including smart homes, ticketing is a natural fit for extending service capabilities and reach, and an application primed for cross-device/thing platform enablement from the smart home, mobile and wearable devices, and automotive and smart city infrastructure.

Visionaries Understand that True Value Lies beyond the Ability to Virtualize a Ticket


Enabling a simple solution that virtualizes tickets alone will not be compelling enough to compete in the future ticketing market, as it is shifting away from a pure authentication play toward one of multiple interactions and touchpoints, between transportation authority and commuter.

As ticketing form factor choices increase, there will be a need to differentiate mobile ticketing solutions in order to compel a user to choose a mobile platform over a familiar traditional card solution to which they have become accustomed. The fact that mobile ticketing/payment platforms are directly competing against one another and differentiating service factors could also come into play as part of a device purchase decision.

Vendors offering mobile ticketing solutions need to think bigger than simply transferring the physical to the digital. Moreover, development strategies need to focus on enabling a compelling offer that combines the convenience of mobile with added value, molding services around the new business model opportunity and, ultimately, justifying it with a clear business case/ROI.

In turn, this will create a platform from which service providers can gather valuable data points and analytics on its customers, bringing the service providers closer to end users. This will help optimize and provide targeted added value via the launch of new innovative services, as well as a platform from which new allegiances and partnerships can be enabled to help flesh out future strategies and, ultimately, open up new revenue opportunities and business models via campaigns, marketing, and loyalty. Companies like Apple and Google are chasing these opportunities.


Companies Mentioned