Feeds

German railways merge NFC networks

We get Chiltern Railways and barcodes ...

The essential guide to IT transformation

Frankfurt's regional travel authority is to merge its NFC infrastructure with the national rail operator, creating an interoperable network for travelling across Germany with a tap of the phone.

That's still some way off, but both Deutsche Bahn and Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (the national and local operators respectively) already have Near-Field-Communication-based payment systems – though neither is widely used. Making the networks interoperable should drive adoption, especially with the plethora of NFC-equipped handsets coming out over the next year or two.

At the moment the companies are just saying they'll upgrade, and integrate, Deutsche Bahn's Touch&Travel system which requires used to tap when joining or leaving the network, and Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund's HandyTicket system which provides ticketing and travel information to the handful of Germans equipped with NFC phones. Both have been used in trials over the last couple of years, but with NFC going mainstream there's incentive to ensure interoperability.

In the UK travellers don't need NFC - thetrainline.com will already sell you a ticket that exists as nothing more than an on-screen barcode for your phone. In the next month or two, Chiltern Railways will be deploying the same technology (provided by Masabi) which will remove the premium thetrainline.com charges for tickets, making it possible to buy a ticket for any train journey in the UK on your mobile phone.

This is if you accept that those tickets will take a little longer, and that Masabi's app will ask you to pick up a physical ticket once you get outside of Chiltern's area, at least initially, but that's indicative of the differing aims of the deployments.

The German announcement is about creating an interoperable network, making life easier for customers and speeding the process of checking the validity of tickets. The UK deployment is about closing ticket windows and getting rid of expensive ticketing machines; expect to see Chiltern's service heavily advertised in ticket office queues and at stations.

Masabi is hoping to create a national network based on barcodes, relying on the premise that once Chiltern Railways can sell you a ticket on your phone, the other operators will leap on board. The company is happy to migrate to NFC when that becomes commonplace, and the readers being fitted in stations will read NFC as well as bar-code-based tickets, but Masabi sees no advantage in NFC beyond the cool factor, though the Germans don't seem to agree. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
MEN WANTED to satisfy town full of yearning BRAZILIAN HOTNESS
'Prettier, better organised, more harmonious than if men were in charge'
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?