16 February 2011
A Borough firm that is hoping to put an end to commuters queuing for tickets is part of a group of UK businesses opening up new markets worldwide in the mobile technology industry.
Masabi, who are based in Great Guildford Street, unveiled their ‘Ticket Machine in your Pocket’ application at the Mobile World Congess in Barcelona on Tuesday.
Accompanied by Lord Green, the Minister for Trade and Investment, Masabi is among 200 UK companies exhibiting at the event, which last year resulted in multi-million pound opportunities for UK companies, and is attended by 50,000 people.
The firm last year secured $2 million from m8 Capital, a mobile-technology investment company in this country, to aid in the global rollout of a barcode-based mobile application, designed to enable consumers to purchase train tickets using their mobile phones from any location.
Now hailed as the mobile-ticketing company for the transportation industry, Masabi is already working with Atos Origin from South Africa, a France-based information-technology provider, and thetrainline.com, a UK-based ticketing website, on the development of the system.
This month they said that by spring, users of Apple Inc.’s iPhones in this country will be able, securely to purchase Chiltern Railways train tickets and display them as on-screen barcodes using their application.
Chiltern Railways is one of the first train lines to move forward with the application and already is adding barcode ticket gates along its routes, developed by San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems Ltd., Ben Whitaker, CEO of Masabi, said.
Being the first line to launch the application is beneficial because “Chiltern will receive the commission from each sale, even if consumers use it to purchase tickets for a different train line, Whitaker told an industry website, but he declined to comment on the amount of the commission.
Indeed, though Chiltern is launching the application, consumers may use it to purchase tickets on other train lines. For tickets purchased for a different line, however, consumers must still print out a ticket at the station. Only tickets purchased on the Chiltern line will include the barcode technology.
This week Lord Green, on his first international visit as Minister for Trade and Investment, said Masabi and other UK firms had the “technology to compete and win business against the best in the world.” He said that it was at trade fairs such as Mobile World Congress that they could find the international partners to transform their businesses.
He added: “UK Trade & Investment [UKTI] helps firms participate fully in these events and find the right business contacts that will make all the difference.
"It takes courage to step on a plane and pitch your products overseas for the first time, but by taking a strategic approach, UK firms can forge new business contacts and find new markets for their products."
Masabi are demonstrating their super-fast barcode scanning for secure mass-market mobile ticket purchase and delivery in Barcelona for the first time. The company’s Ticket Machine in your Pocket application allows travellers to select, purchase and display tickets for transport on their mobile phone, via a rich graphical interface.
“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.
“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.”
Among the deals which followed last year’s Mobile World Congress, London-based Movirtu, which created the award-winning Cloud PhoneTM software, secured £3.6 million of investment led by TLcom Capital.
Hypertag, a firm on the UKTI stand last year that generates 50 per cent of its revenues from exports, has since joined up with UK company Proxama.
Lord Green also held talks with Chinese companies, to discuss the UK's strengths in this innovative sector. The UK telecoms industry generated around £62 billion for the economy last year and employs around 1.5 million people. The UK has the largest ICT sector in Europe.
The Ticket Machine in your Pocket is currently available with thetrainline.com mobile application and you can get the application by texting TRAIN to 86688 or from most app stores.
• UK Trade & Investment helps around 25,000 firms each year to generate an additional £5 billion of profits. UKTI helps firms identify where international opportunities tailored for their companies.
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. For more information on UKTI, visit www.ukti.gov.uk or call 020 7215 8000.
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