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US bus company uses sound to authenticate mobile tickets

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Here’s a novel use of mobile ticketing: a system that uses sound rather than scanning to authenticate mobile bus tickets.

Chirp, a pioneer in data-over-sound technology is working with OurBus, a New York-based tech company specialising in intercity and crowdsourced bus routes, to improve its ticket authentication process and deliver a seamless customer experience.

Chirp sends and receives data via sound, using nothing but a device’s existing speaker and microphone. Information is converted to an audio signal, received by any device within hearing range, and then converted back to the original data.

The partnership will see Chirp integrate its data-over-sound technology into OurBus’ iOS and Android apps and e-tickets emailed to the users, to fully automate the ticket authentication process and allow passengers to board more quickly.

To successfully authenticate tickets, a basic mobile device located close to the driver will listen when a bus arrives at a stop. Using OurBus on their device to show their ticket, the rider will then send their ticket data via a Chirp, which the driver’s device will then hear, authenticate the ticket and subsequently allow the passenger to board. This process means quicker onboarding time for OurBus’ passengers and allows them to have a more consistent and efficient service, with less time spent at each pick-up location.

In additional to improved boarding speed, Chirp will also add another layer of security to the OurBus ticketing process. Because individual Chirps are dynamically generated, tickets will be impossible to counterfeit and will enable true authentication for each ticket. The interaction time is also considerably quicker than QR codes, as it doesn’t require the screen to be aligned with the driver’s camera.

Commenting on the partnership, James Nesfield, CEO of Chirp said: “The global transport industry faces ever-growing demands amongst consumers to reduce journey times and make their travels as easy as possible. Our data-over-sound solutions will provide OurBus with the level of technology required to remove friction from the ticket checking process, with authentication from even the most basic mobile devices. We are excited to extend data-over-sound’s footprint across the transport sector and help OurBusto deliver a quality service for their customers.”

“At OurBus, constantly improving ourservice to deliver an excellent customer journey is at the heart of what we do. Partnering with Chirp will allow us to offer a seamless onboarding process for customers and reduce the time spent on ticketing and boarding for the drivers. We look forward to working with Chirp to take the next steps towards an even faster and reliable service for our customers,” commented Mohit Mohan, CTO at OurBus.

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