Nokia's HERE mapping and location services business began a push to create a global standard for contactless transport ticketing payments using Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled mobile phones.
The unit today announced the formation of the Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance (OMTA), which it describes as a "one of a kind" project to enable consumers to purchase public transport tickets in cities across the world using a single mobile app.
Nokia said the ultimate goal of OMTA is to enable consumers to "register once, travel anywhere" by standardising the communication between mobile phones and transit infrastructure. Such a standard would enable consumers to 'roam' between transport systems, offering them a familiar application even when travelling in an unfamiliar city.
Alliance launch partners include transportation service providers Scheidt & Bachmann and Thales, and mobile payment provider Verifone Mobile Money.
Justus Brown, head of Urban Mobility at HERE and OMTA chairman, said the development of a global mobile ticketing standard "has the potential to increase the use of mass transit," which in turn has the ability to cut congestion and pollution in increasingly busy urban areas.
Enabling easier access to public transport can also boost economic growth "by ensuring that all members of society are mobile--not just those with a car," Brown added.
Nokia noted that the alliance partners have already demonstrated pre-commercial versions of the standard in conjunction with its HERE Maps application, and are gearing up to conduct trials with transit agencies in a number of cities around the world in the back half of 2015.
Strategy Analytics in June forecast that shipments of NFC-equipped mobile phones would grow from 444 million in 2014 to 756 million in 2015, NFC World+ reported. The news outlet added that Strategy Analytics expects shipments of the devices to hit 2.2 billion by 2020, and that Google's Android operating system will account for the largest segment of compatible devices at that point.
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