Over 20 million ASK smart cards and contactless paper tickets are in use, in more than 25 countries. Now this leading position is being reinforced, as ASK signs 2 major contracts to equip city transport networks in Lisbon and Porto
Set up in 1997 and based in Sophia Antipolis, ASK is now the world leader in smart cards, contactless tickets and RFID smart labels. More than 10 million people throughout the world now use contactless cards and tickets developed and manufactured by ASK. People circulate faster, more easily and in greater safety, thanks to ASK technology, with its multiple applications that include systems for payment and access control. ASK not only develops and manufactures products – project management and a card customisation service are also on offer. ASK engineers and managers are acknowledged experts in the contactless smart card sector. The R&D team has had considerable success in the area of radio frequency, resulting in 25 patented* innovations, most notably a technological process that enables the material the card is made of to retain details of any damage or distortion to the card.
10 million C.tickets® for Lisbon travellers
With 2.7m travellers and a transport system that involves a lot of private operators, Portugal’s capital city wanted a card that was interoperable, in other words, valid on several transport networks: the Lisbon underground system and the networks operated by transport company Carris. Until now, the transport system has been open, with travel documents in paper form Lisbon wanted to improve transport management by closing the network and they needed technology that was reliable. So they chose the ASK contactless card, with its proven track record on major transport networks throughout Europe. « The choice Portugal made, opting for contactless cards and paper tickets, demonstrates that contactless teleticketing systems are appropriate, both technically and economically. Not to mention the ergonomic benefits for both users and transport operators » states Xavier Bon, VP Sales & Marketing at ASK.
Lisboa Viva cards are sold as multimodal season tickets (covering underground + bus + tram + intercity trains + funicular railway). A monthly pass is purchased, covering one or more zones, with an unlimited number of journeys. The pass can be topped-up at sales points. Users can now travel on buses and the underground with just one pass, their Lisboa Viva contactless card. Plus, they get all the benefits of contactless technology (fast transactions, security, customised fare plans, etc)
After the underground, next up was transport operator Carris, with its fleet of 900 buses and trams plus 3 funicular trains. They ordered 10 million C.tickets – the world’s largest ever order for contactless paper tickets. Users can purchase pre-paid tickets at sales points or on the bus. Eventually, all Lisbon’s transport operators will be equipped with an ASK contactless teleticketing system.
Porto goes direct to a contactless system, with the Andante card and tickets
After a needs analysis at the end of 2001, the city of Porto (1.2m inhabitants) decided to opt for ASK contactless technology. It was the perfect answer to all their teleticketing needs: travel document issue, validation, top-ups, distribution and control.
With 900,000 public transport users a day, Porto wanted to integrate and co-ordinate the various different networks in a way that would allow the system to be extended or new transport offers to be incorporated without incurring additional costs. So, transport operators were equipped with GTML for season-ticket holders and C.tickets® for single-trip users, with remote ticket validation devices and handheld readers for inspectors. This intermodal approach ties in with the reconstruction of the transport network, in particular the new underground line that is about to open.
- the world’s first contactless paper smart card; the world’s smallest contactless chip (1mm square); a printable aluminium ink aerial (more efficient than traditional copper aerials); the first smart paper label; the first ISO14443A/B compliant OEM contactless coupler and the first contactless operating software for transport systems to be certified EAL1+.
About ASK (www.ask.fr)
Set up in 1997, ASK is now the world’s leading manufacturer of contactless smart cards, contactless paper tickets and RFID contactless smart paper labels. Specialising in teleticketing systems for public transport, ASK markets its products to public authorities, organisations and stadia with financial and/or access-control applications. ASK offers the most extensive range of public transport-related contactless products on the market: dual smart cards, memory cards, RFID contactless paper tickets and labels, readers (fixed and portable) and OEM couplers. ASK products comply with ISO7816, ISO14443, ISO15693, ISO18000 and UHF standards. Production is based in Sophia Antipolis, with sales offices in Paris, Hong Kong and the USA. In October 2001, ASK took over the Motorola smart card division.
ASK is in the European Top 5 for innovative technology. The company has already supplied over 20 million contactless cards and contactless paper tickets for use in more than 25 countries and in 70 towns and cities in Europe, Asia and the USA. Satisfied clients include such well-known names as French railway company SNCF and Paris transport system operator RATP, plus passenger transport companies in Newark, Toronto, San Francisco, Lisbon, Lyon, Venice, Naples, Rome, Taipei, Nice and Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr region.
ASK currently employs 110 staff and forecasts sales of around 30 million euro in 2003. Today, there are 8 million ASK dual interface cards and contactless cards, 10 million C.tickets® and 2 million C.labels® in circulation.
Point Virgule Agency
Céline Perrin – Solenn Morgon
Tel: +33 (0)1 41 11 82 10
email: [email protected]