20-Jan-2010 02:00:57
by Ben Whitaker

Masabi and Access IS create mobile barcode scanner With Oyster-like speed and reliability

Mobile barcodes now suitable for mass-transit applications; technology streamlines rail ticketing service, reducing costs for operators and improving consumer experience

LONDON, UK - 20th January – Masabi, the developer of mobile ticket purchase software for mass-market phones, has successfully collaborated with Access IS to produce optimised mobile barcode scanners for use in high volume, mass-transit situations. The new scanners have overcome the issues of speed and reliability previously associated with mobile barcode scanning and now deliver a similar level of experience to that offered by Oyster and Near Field Communications (NFC) systems, on the vast majority of mobile phone handsets with no hardware modifications. Testing has shown that the new scanner can reliably scan, decode, decrypt and validate a mobile e-ticket in an average of just 240 milliseconds.

[ Video Demonstration here: http://www.masabi.com/technology/barcodes/]

The demonstration video above shows multiple handsets being scanned and decoded in a "gate" scenario. The "beep" is after the system completes the entire scan, decrypt 1024bit RSA, decode and validate of the ticket, so it represents the same time that would be taken to give the "gate release" signal.

Previously, mobile barcode usage has been confined to small-scale pilot studies and for airport check-in where the process is far slower and scanners are handled by trained operators. These pilot studies have shown hand-held mobile barcode scanners to be, at times, unreliable and slow, with regular problems scanning certain handsets. As a result, transport managers have viewed them as not ready for use in mass-transit applications such as bus and train ticketing.

This new product breakthrough marks a watershed for mobile barcode technology by providing a service comparable to NFC or Oyster style systems using a technology that is already ubiquitous. Moreover, mobile barcode offers significant benefits over NFC for non-metropolitan transport systems because the mobile phone acts as both a delivery platform and a ticket sales platform. Mobile handsets provide a complete ticketing and timetable experience at passengers’ convenience, signalling the end of station queues.

“This new scanner innovation removes the final barrier to the adoption of mobile eTickets, and marks the end of having to queue for your train ticket,” said Ben Whitaker, CEO of Masabi, “Now that you can buy your ticket on your mobile and get through the barrier without breaking step, everyday travel can be more convenient, and stations more efficient. Most importantly, this technology is for everyone, not just the Smartphones and iPhones, but even seven-year-old standard mobile handsets.”

Access IS managing director, Roger Wylie, commented, "Having been at the forefront of barcode reading in stadiums and airports, with thousands of turnstile, boarding gate and check-in desk installations, we've been delighted to adapt these proven technologies to meet the particular challenges of mass-transport. Together with Masabi, we're confident that we offer a fast and intuitive ticketing alternative for the travelling public."

About Masabi
Masabi is a UK developer of secure mobile ticketing applications for the transport industry. The company’s ticketing technology is currently being used by UK rail operators including East Coast and Heathrow Express. In December 2008 Masabi’s design for a secure barcode ticket was adopted as a national standard by the UK Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). The company’s award-winning EncryptME system has been validated by BT Labs and certified by NIST, the US Government's security standards body. In line with the latest web security standards EncryptME provides end-to-end security for all mobile communications over SMS, GPRS, 3G and NFC on all Java-enabled handsets. The company was selected as a finalist for the Red Herring 100 Europe in 2009. For further details see www.masabi.com

About Access IS

Access IS designs and manufactures equipment that enables fast and accurate input of information into electronic systems principally for the transport, retail, finance industries. Products include custom and standard electronic keyboards, barcode readers, magnetic swipe card readers and smartcard readers. Access exports over three-quarters of its products and has customers and support centres worldwide. Access ISO9000:2008 and TickIT certified. For further details see www.access-is.com

Media Contacts

For Masabi

Mark Fowler
Temono - Telecoms PR
+44 (0)7540687797
+44 (0)207 9819779

For Access IS

Bob Jones
The Old Vicarage
Upper South Wraxall
Bradford on Avon
BA15 2SB
T: +44 7595 218754

Written by Ben Whitaker

A Co-Founder of Masabi, Ben is the company’s Chief Evangelist, focussing primarily on innovation at the company, as well as helping agencies to understand how to bring new technologies into their transit operations without the expense and risk of multi-year large capital projects.
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