Challenges and opportunities in the market: Interview with Håkon Groven, Development Manager, Ticketing, FARA
With more than six years of experience as FARA’s Product Manager for Real-Time Information Systems, and now as the Development Manager for Ticketing, Håkon shares his reflections about the industry, key challenges and opportunities in the current market.
Why are you passionate about the public transport industry and its solutions?
Public transportation is the future. It is important today, and it will become even more vital in the years to come. Societies’ need for greener and more efficient transport will increase in Norway and globally. It is exciting to work on high-priority projects. At FARA I get to work both with existing products and customers, and also focus on strategic innovation and products that don’t even exist on the market yet. The development teams in FARA are located in Trondheim, Oulu and Warsaw, and most development teams have members from two locations.
How has the market changed since you started working at FARA?
When I started at FARA there was a clear gap between ticketing products on the one hand and passenger information and real-time systems on the other. This gap is now gone, at least in FARA’s products, and these solutions can easily be combined in one system. We can also see an increased demand for smarter software and hardware products, though it may not always be reflected in the tenders. My perception is that in the tender process, customers often request complex systems to get as much value as possible for their money. However, complex systems are no longer necessarily the best systems. At FARA we have developed smart and easy-to-implement solutions. The market is ready, we are ready, and I believe the business models of our customers and bus operators will change soon to reflect this trend.
Are there any projects you have worked on lately that highlight the changes in the market?
The Salzburg delivery has been exciting and very important for FARA. It shows that FARA can deliver solutions to cities in Europe, outside the Nordic countries.
We implemented a real-time system in Oulu a year ago. They knew exactly what they wanted and focused on the elements that were most important to them, which makes implementation and market delivery a lot easier. Also, most importantly: they had checked what the user – the passenger – wanted. Oulu is really the gold-standard for how projects and implementation should be run.
In Østfold we are delivering an integrated real-time information system that allows for both flexibility and synergistic effects, which is a showcase for how the gap between information and ticketing is fading away. So we definitely see that the market is reflecting the changing demands of the customer, and we at FARA are ready to deliver great products that are easy to implement, in the Nordic countries, in Europe and beyond.