ABI Research forecasts global contactless ticketing shipments to top 460 million in 2017, up from the 427 million delivered in 2016. NXP’s MIFARE range of protocols continue to dominate the market, with Classic, Plus, and DESFIRE achieving a combined market share in excess of 70% in 2016.
“Many still view the contactless ticketing market as a protocol battle field, with the likes of MIFARE, CIPURSE, and Calypso all competing for projects and market share,” says Phil Sealy, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “However, today’s protocol battles could soon end as several transportation authorities look toward the future of multi-protocol support. While it is still at a very early stage and, at best, an underlying trend, it will be interesting to see if multi-protocol support gains significant momentum and drives market competition, and ultimately more competitive pricing, in the years ahead.”
ABI Research views multi-protocol support as a positive enabler, opening a multitude of payment choices on mass transit systems, as well as driving competition between suppliers. Although multi-protocol support may drive down costs, it could equally be leveraged to enable next-generation technologies, with one protocol used on the traditional smart card form factor and another used for mobile.
Next-generation contactless ticketing technologies that continue to gain momentum include Be-In-Be-Out (BIBO), mobile, wearable devices, HCE (Host Card Emulation), and account-based ticketing. Companies such as Cubic, G&D, Gemalto, Infineon, Masabi, NXP, Oberthur Technologies, and Rambus Ecebs are pioneering these advances and pushing forward the boundaries of contactless ticketing. The technologies help reduce issuance and the associated management costs, as well as diversify transportation authorities’ abilities to launch new and innovative services, ultimately leading to new green field revenue opportunities.
“The real question is whether next-generation contactless ticketing technologies will prove a disruptive threat to the traditional smart card landscape or perhaps complement it,” concludes Sealy. “Today, it is the latter with transportation authorities exploring and deploying new ticketing options alongside existing infrastructure. Having said this, the end game is cost reduction. Vendors need to prepare by adjusting product portfolios and support to ensure that they maintain established traditional smart card solutions, while also emphasizing development into new technologies that will transform tomorrow’s market landscape.
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