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Trimble shrinks UHF RFID reader module ••• SweetWater 420 Fest employs Vendini's RFID system for ticketing, access control ••• Mobile airline boarding passes on the rise, delaying the transition to NFC, study finds. ••• TexTrace joins global RAIN RFID Alliance ••• Transcends releases new version of open-source RFID middleware.
By Beth Bacheldor

Mobile Delivery of Airline Boarding Passes on the Rise, Delaying the Transition to NFC, Study Finds

More than 1.5 billion airline boarding passes will be delivered via mobile devices by 2019, compared with about 745 million this year, according to Juniper Research. That growth, the research and analytical services firm reports, is delaying the transition to Near Field Communication (NFC) ticketing.

The new research, titled "Mobile & Online Ticketing: Transport, Events & NFC 2015-2019," found that the majority of airlines have implemented boarding passes via smartphone apps, and that the industry is witnessing rapid adoption in markets such as the United States, the Far East and Europe. By 2019, the research indicates, mobile boarding passes—which are displayed in the form of a bar code on a handset's screen—will represent one in three boarding passes issued by airlines. Some of the early adopting airlines are recording double-digit growth for boarding passes delivered via mobile.

According to SITA, an information technology and services provider for the air-transport industry, 53 percent of airlines have already implemented mobile boarding passes via smartphone apps. That figure, Juniper Research reports, is expected to rise to 91 percent by 2017.

However, Juniper Research notes, the success of mobile bar-code boarding pass adoption has meant that the transition to NFC will be delayed.

"The ultimate position that NFC can reach in the airline industry is 'the extinction of the boarding pass' whereby boarding pass, baggage tickets and identity information can be stored on the phone and simply accessed using NFC readers," said research author Nitin Bhas in a prepared statement. "However, this transition will not only be delayed by the success of barcode but there is the need to gain agreement and investment from airlines and airports around the world."

Additionally, the research found that the metro (subway) and bus sectors will dominate mobile ticketing transaction volumes, due to the relative frequency of consumer purchase. Moreover, as gating infrastructure is upgraded, metro and bus NFC-ticketing is expected to gain traction in the medium term in such critical markets as Europe and Asia.

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