Industry Trends and Key Takeaways from IT-TRANS

IT-TRANSIt was a busy few days at the IT-TRANS conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, this month, filled with important discussions, fantastic guest speakers and plenty of attendees. There was lots to take in! We’ve shared our top takeouts below in case you missed out.

Thomas Bach Petersen, VP Products RTI, and Josef Salpeter, VP Business Development have the inside scoop on the key happenings, innovations and building back after Covid, following the conference.

Thomas Bach Petersen - IT-TRANS AttendeeWhat innovation excited you the most?


“After being at IT-TRANS, I clearly see that FARA’s strategy of basing our solutions around a communications gateway is the future,” explains Thomas.

“The FARA SmartHUB seamlessly integrates with new products such as air quality monitoring or internal bus displays, whilst simultaneously communicating between your onboard equipment and back office.

This communications gateway allows for more insightful and greater reporting. And with more and more equipment on board the vehicle – it’s increasingly important that Public Transport Authorities (PTAs) and Public Transport Operators (PTOs) are not only able to see that everything is operating as expected, but are also able to optimise efficiencies. The FARA SmartHUB provides that insight, allowing preventative maintenance and ultimately less down time in operations, as well as improving fleet efficiency.

Furthermore, as we move towards electrified public transport, the SmartHUB will be key in launching and optimising electric buses into operations.

In addition to integrating Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) and Real Time Information (RTI) on the same platform, the SmartHUB also integrates with 3rd party solutions to create a complete ecosystem which is prepared for the future. Combining these systems is not only cost-effective from a hardware and installation point of view, it enables greater data intelligence to be presented within a common view.”


Josef SalpeterWhat did you hear about post-Covid recovery from IT-TRANS?


Josef commented: “The conversations around post-Covid recovery were very much focused on bringing people back to public transport. For Ticketer Group, this means that in the new normal of post-pandemic travel we must shift to modern seamless Account Based Ticketing (ABT) solutions, to lower travel thresholds and help PTOs to get passengers back on-board.

Based on recent statistics from Norway and the UK, some operators are back up to 80% of their pre-pandemic customer numbers, but many cases are closer to 60%. It’s clearly a big challenge for those operating public transport.

To help facilitate the change required to suit new travel patterns, there has to be a reliable Real Time Information offering and seamless ticketing solutions available for the passenger – enabling a low threshold for travel.

We are innovating to make sure passengers don’t have to plan ahead when they need to travel. It needs to be easy, quick and with a best price guarantee. The combination of these innovations will be key to winning customers back onto public transport. The post-Covid recovery is built on combining the benefits of technology with the many benefits it can deliver for operators and their customers, making it as simple as possible to travel.”


What was the hot topic at the FARA stand?


“Apart from the excitement of being back at IT-TRANS in person, there were two main topics that were most talked about at the FARA stand,” Josef shared.

Contactless EMV
“Contactless EMV was probably the most addressed topic, all based around next generation ticketing and Account-Based Ticketing (ABT). To allow PTOs and PTAs to build back after covid, there was a lot of discussion on how simplifying fares and removing barriers to public transport is a must. Contactless EMV will also provide a much simpler way for people to travel by bus. For normal contactless transactions passengers don’t have to plan their journeys in advance – they can just tap and go! We’ll have more information coming soon about the future of contactless on how this will help operators build back and get more infrequent users back on board.”

“A very close second to contactless EMV was our communications gateway, the SmartHUB. For many it was the first time they had heard about us joining together 3rd party solutions to create an ecosystem prepared for the future. The combination of insight allowing preventative maintenance, integrating AFC and RTI on the same platform, as well as future proofing any changes to their suppliers was a pleasant surprise.

PTOs and PTAs were happy to see that it is a cost-effective solution from a hardware and installation point of view. Also enabling greater data intelligence to be presented within a common view was something people did not expect to see.”


What were the top three takeaways from the conference?


1. Information Remains Key – PTAs and PTOs are placing increasing importance on data insight. With more onboard equipment, traffic controllers will need to rely on hardware such as the FARA SmartHUB to monitor that everything is operating correctly, and also to continually identify ways operations can be improved.

2. Electrified Integration – Increasing numbers of authorities and operators are converting to electric vehicles, however they’re often forgetting the most important tools for implementation. Monitoring critical information such as battery levels and remaining driving distance will need to be a priority for any fleet moving towards electrification, as will finding the right solutions and hardware to support this activity.

3. SaaS is Stepping Up – An interesting trend has finally arrived within the public transport industry, with more operations than ever before converting to a Software as a Service (SaaS) based business model. As a result, authorities and operators will need to prioritise onboarding effective Cloud-based solutions to meet newly established standards.