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Leadership / Digital Transformation

TfL Asks Market “Can We Use Smartphones?” as OEM Solution Goes out of Service

Transport for London (TfL) is soliciting advise on whether it can check customer’s tickets across its network using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Android technology, or whether it will be forced to replace custom hardware.

The market engagement comes after the company, which derives over 85 percent of its revenue from passenger income, said its existing “Revenue Inspection Device” (RID) is no longer manufactured by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

The “RID” is a hardware item used to undertake “multiple inspection models across bus, rail and tram services” and “entails a team of inspectors checking that customers have a valid entitlement to travel on our network regardless of the travel medium.”

TfL needs a new solution from January 2021, it said.

TfL Ticket Inspection Tech: “Software-Centric” Solution Required

“TfL’s aim is to procure a compliant, modular, software-centric RID solution, reducing where possible the use of bespoke hardware,” it said in a market engagement exercise posted on a European tenders page on March 15.

TfL said it believes that the types of devices most likely to be able to meet the requirements are all-in-one handheld payment terminals (i.e. Android mPOS devices).

See also – TfL: Calling all White Hats

“These will be designed to meet the requirements of the payment industry, but may need some modification to meet the ITSO and Oyster inspection requirements. These mPOS devices may also support secure hardware (e.g. SAM slots), extended battery life, printing and be ruggedized for use in an operational environment.”

“At the same time, there is currently a lot of interest in using Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Android smart phone devices with “software-only” solutions to act as cost-effective payment terminals” it added in the engagement exercise.

(This involves a Market Sounding Questionnaire that needs to be requested, filled in and returned by April 1, 2019)

The public transport provider added: “TfL understands that consumer COTS devices may not be appropriate and that enterprise COTS devices are more likely to appropriately secure [but] TfL wishes to engage with the market to help shape how it might define, procure and contract for a new solution through assessing current market capabilities and appetite for the service identified.”

Do you have an opinion on the security and robustness of off-the-shelf Android devices to handle high-volume payment/ticket checks? Get in touch with our team…


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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.