I recently spoke with Richard Tackett, Editor in Chief of American trade publication BUSRide, to discuss fare collection best practices with a focus on revenue.

Originally posted on BUSRide Magazine and subsequently referenced by Vix Technology, here are my responses featured alongside other industry commentators. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that DevOps and software engineering displine are fundamental when designing and constructing parallel and distributed systems at a quality level commensurate with that of commercial software.

In what ways does your platform enable a reliable, dependable revenue stream throughout its useable life?

Building on three generations of advanced automated fare collection (AFC) and payments solutions, the Vix solution provides an advanced platform supporting account-based ticketing, card-based ticketing, open payments and closed loop features in a single, highly configurable product. Sophisticated financial management tools, including transit clearing house capabilities, are also core capabilities, all of which can be deployed “on premise” within customer data centers or “as a Service” in a public cloud.

Our solution enables a reliable, dependable revenue stream throughout its usable life because, for Vix, the most important aspect of public transportation is a better journey for our customers. Our relentless focus on building a flexible, scalable, and reliable AFC and payments platform is fundamental to delivering this vision for our customers and for ensuring dependable revenue streams for agencies.

What best practices can agencies use to decrease fare system deployment times, to maximize benefits and minimize revenue disruption?

At Vix, there are many lenses through which we measure how we deliver value to our customers: we recognize the need to reduce build, deployment, operating, and maintenance costs along one dimension whilst ensuring a repeatable and secure quality level commensurate with that of a world-class commercial solution along another dimension.

Full automation for forming, deploying, and upgrading all operational environments and the Vix solution is critically important in reducing overall costs, reducing the risk of human error, increasing operational efficiency, ensuring consistent quality and enable measurable compliance with security practices and governance. To this end, the Vix solution focuses on the best practice of DevOps automation as a core engineering practice across three phases to align with design, build, operations, and maintenance in support of continuous improvement.

Our investment in this area has resulted in vastly reduced build and deployment times. Our relentless focus in this area allows us to minimize costs for systems operations, security operations and disaster recovery scenarios while greatly reducing the timelines for our solution engagement schedules, resulting in a direct savings for our customers without the need to compromise their revenue protection and business continuity objectives.

How does a flexible, open architecture lend itself to increased revenue over time?

An open architecture lends itself to increased revenue over time because the inherent standards-based design patterns and technologies fosters a wide array of integration scenarios within the surrounding and transit payments ecosystem. The APIs that come with an open architecture allow for a range of integrations to be supported as part of a fare collection system, allowing agencies to, for example, partner with coffee shops or other retail outlets to offer deals for transit riders. This provides another revenue stream for the transit agencies, as well as the partner retailers, etc.

However, simply supporting an open architecture isn’t enough. Software and hardware engineering teams must possess the discipline and rigor required to produce quality, scalable, and flexible architectural patterns to support not only revenue streams that we can think of but, equally as important, with forward looking attention to market trends.

How can agencies utilize improved data collection and analysis to leverage new revenue streams?

To begin to utilize improved data collection and analysis to leverage new revenue streams, agencies must first make it a priority. Analytics and the field of data science are now foundational to nearly all industries - so much so that data itself has become an important strategic and competitive asset. This data represents a rather rich taxonomy for enabling a variety of revenue opportunities for agencies to improve a rider’s experience.

At Vix, our focus on a better customer journey shapes how we support agencies in the areas of analytics. The areas of analytics that are important to us, and thus to our solution, are predictive journey analytics, predictive maintenance analytics, fraud prevention, real-time passenger information, capacity and pricing optimization, customer analytics and loyalty marketing, intelligent transportation system (ITS) optimization and the co-occurrence of information from each of these areas to model how to improve the overall transit experience.

Originally posted on BUSRide Magazine.