Mister Beacon Episode #22

Beacons & Ticketing - Tickey

November 24, 2016

Beacons can enable an enhanced ticketing experience by having mobile apps recognize fare gates and ticket collectors. We talk to Dimiter Dimitrov – CEO of Tickey about his experiences developing and deploying his company's beacon app.


  • Dimiter Dimitrov 00:00

    As you're getting general anytime, anywhere, just with your smartphone and we rely on beacons to give us information about vehicles and vessels that you already started to deploy in Sofia subway network. So we'll go through the six metal session with seven devices. Our tests shown that the default time is less than half a second. It's actually comparable to tapping your back on the calculator or putting a into the scanner.

    Narration 00:45

    You're listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Beacosystem with Steve Statler.

    Steve Statler 00:52

    Welcome to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Beacosystem, the podcast for location aware solution designers and entrepreneurs. My name is Steve Statler of Statler Consulting. We're going to be talking about beacon enabled applications. In particular ticketing. We're continuing our theme of global trotting and this time we're talking to Dimiter Dimitrov, who is the CEO of Tickey. They're based in Bulgaria, Dimiter. Welcome to the show. We spend a lot of time on this show talking about the technology, the nuts and bolts, the protocols, the standards. So it's great to be talking to someone that's using beacon technology at the application level. I'm interested to hear about how you use beacons and what your experience has been doing that, let's kick things off with an elevator pitch of what Tickey does.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 01:50

    Okay, Tickey is a global mobility platform that basically allows people to pay for mobility by sharing car sharing, public parkings, public transport buses, ferry boats, suburban brands, only basic decimal form, and we use beacons in order to identify the vehicle or the fare gates, then based on the child history, and based on the child of our whether you're traveling alone with your family, we are giving always the best price for the tickets. So you're going to jail anytime, anywhere, with your smartphone, and we rely on beacons to give us information about vehicles and vessels that you are in.

    Steve Statler 02:34

    So it's a mobile app I've downloaded it looks very cool. nicely designed, it's for transportation. So this will be for bus systems, subways do cover stadiums?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 02:46

    Initially focusing on transport and urban mobility. But you can also use Tiki to enter to the museum's for stadiums. It's a little bit different because she sees that needs to be booked. But here there is a general admission for concerts, for example, you can use the cash flow.

    Steve Statler 03:05

    You're based in Bulgaria, how did you end up starting a company that does this?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 03:10

    Well, we were experimenting with it. Is there the 13th then April 14, I hate to take my kids to the kindergarten first. And although it's very close, it's just a couple of blocks away from my place. It was very hard to buy tickets for the bus there because in our city, still the ticketing system is not very sophisticated. So you have to go to this special offices to buy electronic card then you have to talk every month, and it is very close to my place. So we just told that people are using smartphones to buy to do everything, basically. So why don't we develop application that you can pay for smartphones. And it's we as I said, we were experimenting with beacons. And instead of using data just transmit marketing messages, we thought that we might use beacons to find the vehicle or vessel or in the subway station. So when the formula in the bus you will just buy a ticket there. And we started developing this idea. We went to a hackathon in software startup weekends, we want to place we were invited to the program. Then, six months later, we had some problems with toboggan spiders, and we were invited by Bulgarian accelerator and we established sticky in 2015 January. Then, one year later in February 2016. We got our first system in the UK which is a private company Me. Now we've started to deploy Tiki in Sofia subway network. So we'll cover 36 metro stations with 74 entities.

    Steve Statler 05:12

    I want to talk a little bit more about those deployments, but just talk about the technology. So when I was at Qualcomm, we we did experiment with, with beacons for access to, you know, car parks and so forth. And one of the challenges that we found was, if you had a couple of entry lanes, it was really difficult to get the beacons to be accurate in terms of whether you want to whether you are in lane a, or if you are in lane B. Is that a problem that you've seen? And have you been able to fix it?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 05:47

    Yes, actually. What we're doing a first day, the Summer Sessions initially, we will deploy a dangerous in one Faraday, but also we are limiting the signals using special antenna. So it worked as signals only in one direction. So we did some some clever engineering to limit the signal.

    Steve Statler 06:16

    So basically, you solve it by having one one entry gates and you're using a directional antenna. What What kind of beacons are you using?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 06:24

    We use vehicles that are manufactured by contract components, and also for inspectors really good Guilbeau beacons.

    Steve Statler 06:39

    Okay, and so what did the why the the ticket inspectors have beacons?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 06:46

    Because this is the way for them to verify tickets. So whenever the boss let's say, they have very ticket beacons, real broadcast signals. So the application will display their ID and their fault on the ticket on the screen the phone. So this is the way to verify the tickets.

    Steve Statler 07:06

    So as a passenger, I would have a beacon that would identify me know,

    Dimiter Dimitrov 07:11

    Your especially during the smartphone.

    Steve Statler 07:15

    I see. Okay, the ticket inspector has like one of those little blue s 10 beacons any app, your animal see, oh, this is a ticket inspector. And so it will start talking to the ticket inspector.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 07:31

    Yeah, and it will display his ID. So can you be sure that the mic is?

    Steve Statler 07:39

    Okay, so you as a passenger? Because the beacon is cited, then it will display something that the ticket inspector understands. So they're kind of verifying visually, oh, you're good. So it just saves you some navigation? Is that the point of it, you don't have to navigate through the app, exactly.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 07:59

    You don't need to display good console, they don't need to scan the QR code. So we're trying to make it really easy.

    Steve Statler 08:08

    That's very good. So I think there's some lessons learned for folks that are not even in the ticketing domain with their applications that beacons can help with that navigation and just get you to the right screen faster. Because I imagine a lot of what's important in ticketing is speed, you want to get round. And if you can recognize the ticket or close the payment or whatever it is faster, then then everyone's happier, the the inspectors can be more effective, the passengers are more relaxed. That totally makes sense.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 08:43

    Exactly. And also the inspectors there also have time to stop to check on the ticket. So the speed is very important for them.

    Steve Statler 08:54

    Very cool. So one of the so you have a great demo of I think it was a demo day presentation. You did your elevator pitch and you did a demo. And it was pretty cool because the moderator kind of tried using this. You had a turnstile and someone was holding it and she tried to get through without the app and she couldn't and then you came along and you use your watch and you got through. Now the question I had in my mind that I wanted to ask you was about the speed because you know the last thing I mean, I used to live in London and you have like streams of people trying to get through the turnstiles. How quick is the process of recognizing the beacon and unlocking the gate and have you had any challenges with people running through and getting injured by the gate not opening you solve that?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 09:48

    We have this definitely read now this is really interesting. Because it's not that long ago. But will our tests show that the response time is less than half seconds? So it's actually comparable to tapping into your character on the calculator or putting your paper ticket into the scanner. So it's comparable. And actually, it's much easier. Because you don't need to take your wallet to type your character to hold on to your paper ticket, you always hold the gold smartphone in your hand. So he's much, much better now.

    Steve Statler 10:38

    And in the demo, you you used your watch, I don't know whether it was an Apple Watch, or to basically authorize the fact that you're using the ticket? Is that something you still have to do? Or does the system just recognize that it's you and let you through?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 10:54

    For the he uses the watch. And we did it well now. Apple Watch, because we assume the developments. But we selected to Kev checking scenario. So we'll get to that below on the screen your watch on the screen review form because you have to confirm the fact of the purchase. Otherwise, there's still some security issue for days being scenario where your function in your pocket and some companies are trying to develop this scenario, but it's not very sure it right.

    Steve Statler 11:41

    Well, it's interesting. So and I think you can obviously start the dialogue before the person is right at the the ticket gate. So you mentioned that you have a project that you've started in the UK, and that's a ferry company. How far have you got with that deployment?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 12:02

    Well, we live there, people are using vehicles to buy tickets. Initially, they approached us because it's very touristy place in Colorado, and in the summer, they have one ticket queues in the ticket. So they want to avoid the queues. And initially, the application was intended only for tourists so they could download the application and buy tickets, while they're boarding fairies. Now we're scanning functionality to be more attractive for local people, because they can they can integrate with variables with purpose are guys. And three, okay, this weekend, my month and so we will extend the functionality there. And we will make more impactful for people.

    Steve Statler 12:56

    That's excellent. And so can you share the name of the it's in Cornwall? What's the name of the transport company?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 13:05

    Called full face in the city? Okay. Basically, people using their variable says public transport because it's on the very on Bay instead of driving along the bay, they just got into the parish?

    Steve Statler 13:25

    Well, I think this is it's good work that you're doing. I mean, it's there's green implications for this as well. Do you want to kind of talk to why this is particularly timely in terms of what you can do for the environment?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 13:42

    Well, first of all, because you're replacing paper tickets. It's cool because you're saving some piece and believe it or not, paper tickets is still the most use payment method public transport. And the second thing that we are trying also to achieve is to make public transport for the people so instead of their own cars, and we are trying to to move them to scale. You will also use the carbon footprint for each person basically, according to the research carbon footprint. For a person that shouldn't focus about two times in the catalog and the carbon footprint of a person that is choosing to go to the workplace.

    Steve Statler 14:41

    Oh, we should link you up with San Diego San Diego is one of the cities that's adopted a climate action plan to try and reduce the carbon footprint. And a big part of that climate action plan is getting more people to use public transport and in the States. Certainly when you get outside of places like New York and so forth that are unique then you know, it's they've got work to do to get people to do that and I think this can actually be a big part of making it cooler making it more convenient and I tried to take the bus and struggle because I didn't have the the change and I'm like, This is crazy. So So I think you know, it's it's good work that you're doing and we should talk afterwards and see if I we can get you talking to San Diego because they need this.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 15:33

    It will be really cool. I was four years ago and so a mentioned been missing going up the beaches and the La Jolla so it will be getting to get into something there.

    Steve Statler 15:45

    Very good. Well, on that note, Dimiter, I really enjoyed the conversation. Great to see someone that's using beacons for good and I wish you lots of success with with Tiki. Thanks for being on the show.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 15:59

    Thanks for having me.

    Steve Statler 16:09

    The most challenging question is the three songs you would take on a mission to Mars? What sort of music are you into?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 16:20

    Not being at San Mateo, Depeche Mode, U2.

    Steve Statler 16:29

    Fantastic. We have that in common. I took my younger son to see Depeche Mode and he was the only one apart from me that wasn't wearing black leather. So, Depeche Mode and U2, what was the third one?

    Dimiter Dimitrov 16:44

    And the third one is how Love Will Tear Us Apart.

    Steve Statler 16:53

    Everyone was playing Joint Vision at my college.

    Dimiter Dimitrov 17:02

    In San Diego, in between 95-96. And the beaches there especially Coronado beach.

    Steve Statler 17:14

    Coronado is just amazing, isn't it? The golden sands of that hotel you know, you can watch Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe and it's same, same uniform. Very good.