Pitroda's firm brings railway ticketing to mobiles
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Pitroda's firm brings railway ticketing to mobiles

Monday, 30 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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Chicago: Two decades ago when Sam Pitroda introduced computerisation to railway ticketing, he was greeted with scepticism and derision by politicians and labour leaders. They thought he wanted to replace humans with machines.

Now in 2007, the same Indian Railways has enthusiastically embraced Pitroda's mobile transaction technology that enables ticketing directly from cell phones.

His Oak Brook, Illinois-based technology company C-SAM's mobile ticketing solution has just gone live for Indian Railways, which transports around five billion passengers a year.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp Ltd (IRCTC), a division of Indian Railways which issues tickets to about 15 million passengers daily, now offers "IRCTCmobile" services to provide "cutting-edge technology" powered by C-SAM, improving customer convenience, security and flexibility.

The IRCTCmobile launch has the potential to become the first mass market adoption of a technology which is considered unrivalled in terms of the number of mobile applications it offers.

For a country that adds some seven million mobile phones a month and could see the number of total mobile phones rise to a staggering 500 million by 2010 from the current 200 million, mobile applications are the most effective way to capitalise on such unprecedented connectedness.

"The launch of IRCTCmobile using C-SAM technology signals one of the first large scale, mass market secure transaction applications anywhere in the world to capitalise on the growing mobile phone market," according to C-SAM's official statement issued here.

"With over two and a half billion mobile phones in service worldwide, C-SAM's platform is ideally positioned to deliver various secure transaction applications for carriers, banks and merchants.

"IRCTCmobile allows passengers to perform various services such as book tickets using credit and cash cards, view train schedules, check availability, get fares, perform inquiries and access many other associated information services through mobile phones," the company said.

"The railway ticketing application is part of a web service-based platform that includes other services such as mobile banking, bill payments, P2P, advertising, coupons, NFC etc., offered by C-SAM, a leading technology company headquartered in the US, with a strong presence in India," the company said.

With the portfolio of eight issued patents and more than 20 pending applications that cover a range of financial and non-financial transaction services on mobile phones, C-SAM is considered a leader in the particular technology space.

"IRCTCmobile is a great example of how the most advanced mobile technology can be deployed to benefit the masses, including people at the bottom of the pyramid," said Pitroda.

He also said C-SAM and IRCTC are exploring ways to introduce a wide range of other new services on mobile phones, including issuance of loyalty coupons, advertising, pre-paid cards, m-commerce and travel portals.

Indian Railways, which has acquired a new vigour under minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, is expected to increasingly incorporate high technology into a sector once considered moribund and labour intensive.
Source: IANS
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