Natural Selection: Discussing Open Standards at Transport Ticketing Global 2020

February 6, 2020

Philippe Martineau, President of OSPT Alliance

Transport Ticketing Global always proves an interesting, engaging and inevitably busy event for the industry. It’s growing popularity and value is easily demonstrated by the significant growth in its venue size and attendance, hosted this year for the first time at the Olympia in London. For OSPT Alliance, this year proved an especially busy and exciting show – and not just because of the new location!

In case you missed it, we made a major announcement to the ecosystem – OSPT Alliance and Calypso Networks Association (CNA) are collaborating. It was brilliant to receive such a positive response to our launch but notable too to find the themes of the presentation myself and Philippe Vappereau, Chairman of CNA, delivered recurring in discussions throughout the show. Here’s my key takeaways from the event, as well as what our collaboration means for all stakeholders.

Growing pains of a maturing transport world

At any public transport show, you’re never too far from the mention of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Interestingly, however, this year saw discussions get more granular into the effect MaaS is having on relationships between operators and solution providers, and on new use cases.

Several presentations explored the need for mass transit and ‘last mile’ services to combine to meet consumer calls for on-demand services. Uber’s Chris Pangilinan discussed the company’s new move to coexist with and complement the existing mass transit infrastructure with a pilot service in Denver. By combining live service data, recommended mass transit services and ‘last mile’ Uber services, consumers can plan and book the quickest, most cost-effective route with the same seamless user experience.

It’s an increasingly complex, converging ecosystem. Twenty or so years ago, an operator would define a solution and strike up a partnership with one solution provider. Today, however, operations require interaction with several other services and indeed, solution providers. From route planners and on-demand travel services, to mobile and open loop payments, the technical complexities and cost of delivering all these services is putting immense strain on operators.

Demand for these services won’t go away, but an open standards interface will dramatically simplify the integration and collaboration between multiple stakeholders, technologies and solutions.

Standards & the Theory of Evolution

This year’s conference had a whole afternoon track dedicated to the role of open standards in transport, showcasing growing appetite for standardization in the industry. One session from Sebastian Borowski of Scheidt & Bachmann had a thought-provoking analogy that brought together the unlikely duo of Darwinism and open standards. As the Theory of Evolution states, species combine and adapt…ultimately, though, all evolve. And, as it turns out, standards are a lot like species.

When defining open standards, organizations need to champion agility to ensure outputs continue to evolve in line with the needs of the market and the efforts of others. This may mean scrapping functions and features that aren’t working or, more often, incorporating new elements and features.

One need only look to the payments and telecoms industry and the likes of EMVCo and GSMA to see the impact and benefits that standardization can bring. And to realize a truly open ecosystem, there needs to be a simplified solution.

Better together – announcing our collaboration

This idea very fittingly set the stage for our announcement. Once competitors, CNA and OSPT Alliance – and their respective standards CALYPSO® and CIPURSE™ – have both developed and evolved significantly over time. But, conceived with the same end goal – the same species, if you like – the theory of evolution dictates it’s time to come together…

Our end goal is to achieve convergence of both standards. Crucially though, we don’t want to stop there. By joining forces, we’re committed to expanding the scope of what our standards cover to include the full ticketing architecture, so all can truly reap the benefits of open standards.

In the context of the maturing transport ecosystem gestured to earlier, it’s the perfect time for collaboration. The need for open standards has never been greater. And, for operators, our separate work efforts were only adding to the fragmented complexity they face. Not only will our collaboration make technical and commercial integration simpler for operators, it’ll also bring time and cost efficiencies to the entire transport ticketing value chain.

It’s an ambitious project, but the implications for the industry will be phenomenal. And, with the support of all stakeholders, we’re confident in what we can achieve.

To learn more about our collaboration, watch this video of our announcement or visit our website here.


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