Trains, planes and.....buses??!!
Well, I could add concerts, cinemas, baseball and theatres amongst others to the list. But..what have they got in common? In short, they're all sectors that are exploiting mobile ticketing. Some are further along the road (or should I say track or runway) than others. Over the last week I've been on German (DB) and Swiss (SBB) trains: these are both transport systems that are starting to embrace mobile ticketing. They're doing this in different ways:
On DB's ICE express, a leaflet tells passengers about the "Handybereich" area where they have installed more kit such as repeaters to boost the signal and goes on to mention that passengers can then avail themselves of special ICE services such as the DB Rail Navigator, ticket purchase and seat reservation by mobile as well as real time arrivals and departures (which are very nearly always on time of course!)
SBB has launched an iPhone app. This gives users an extensive set of features including timetables, real time arrivals and departures (also on time to the second!), ticket purchases and display via barcode and a neat GPS driven map feature if you're unfamiliar with your departure point or destination plus a super-sounding "Take Me Home" function from anywhere in Switzerland.
There's still a way to go of course. In Germany, for example, our information indicates that mobile ticket sales are still low compared to the two billion rail tickets issued annually. But on the other hand mobile is growing fast and when integrated into the wider mobile proposition as DB have done, you'd expect it to become much more common for passengers to buy their ticket this way - for their next journey for example. The business case or justification for mobile varies according to the sector. It could be based on cost saving, or convenience for people who are short of time (like many other mobile apps), or green issues through fewer traditional tickets, or, in the case of festivals and concerts it could be improved security and access control. In all these sectors, we're forecasting that mobile ticketing will take off over the next 5 years, globally. The potential for mobile ticketing though goes beyond the ticket itself because there's also potential for linking further mobile commerce applications such as coupons to present an enticing offer to customers.