What is the estimated expense of implementing Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for transportation? Just a ballpark estimate would be great.
This is a very difficult question for me to answer, but I will make a guestimate and allow our readers who sell components of such a solution to chime in below.
Passive NFC reader modules are not very expensive. I estimate that they would cost you around $100 per vehicle or turnstile. For vehicles, you will need to decide how data will be transmitted from the passive NFC reader to your back-end system. Will the reader send information in near-real time? If that’s the case, you will require a cellular device that takes data from the reader and forwards it to a back-end server. That will add $300 or more to the price. You will also need to pay for installation within the vehicle. A ballpark estimate might be $1,000 per vehicle for the reader, cellular device and installation.
In addition, you will need to provide NFC cards to passengers. I would figure $1 per card. You will also need software and a secure back-end system to manage transactions. This is very difficult to estimate, but let’s say it’ll cost $250,000, fully deployed with security. That would make the price for a system with 1,000 buses and 1 million riders approximately $2.25 million. You might be able to reduce the cost for cards by enabling riders to use the NFC device in their mobile phones.
This is a very rough estimate, keep in mind. If you were to go completely contactless, you could save a lot of money by eliminating fair collection and the security associated with it. NFC payment terminals also tend to require fewer payments than mag-stripe card systems that have a lot of moving parts and motors that break down.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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