Just a couple of years back in time, two guys developed a SMS bus ticket. However, they immediately understood that this is not the future: a far more advanced mobile payment and ticket service was needed. These guys established a company called iQ Payments. They made a successful bid to the city of Turku, and turned the university town into a flagship of future mobility solutions.
Today, iQ Payments is one of the top mobile payment solution providers in Finland. Its application is a clever way to buy tickets, but it also functions as a communication channel through which the transport operator can provide its clients with instructions on timetable changes or campaign prices, for example. Tuomo Parjanen, Chief Executive Officer of iQ Payments, sheds light on the services provided by the company:
What kinds of solutions do you offer for future smart mobility?
“We have a solution called PayiQ® for mobile payments and ticket services. With PayiQ®, a passenger can buy a ticket for both local and long haul bus lines. In the future, a traveller will also be able to buy a cab ticket, or pay for a rental or shared car with his or her mobile phone. We offer applications for all mobile devices, and support the most common paying methods in the whole mobility chain.”
What practical problems does your smart mobility solution solve, and whose daily life does it facilitate?
“A family will not need another car, thanks to our simple and seamless service. Our application makes the ‘one stop shop’ and ‘pay as you go’ principles come true. Soon, you could even pay monthly for all your use of transport, regardless of which means of transportation you have used.”
How far are you now with the development of your smart mobility solution?
”Our system has been in operation in the Turku region for 1,5 years now. A medium-sized Finnish bus traffic company also uses it on their local buses in the city of Salo. In the near future, we may have train travel integrated into to the system, too, as well as the long haul buses. We are actively involved in organisations and programs focusing on ‘Mobility as a Service’, such as the CityNext program by Microsoft and the SmartCity program by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agengy for Innovation. We are also a member of the Intelligent Transport Systems Finland network.”
What plans do you have for the future? What kinds of goals do you have regarding internationalisation?
"We want to become the leading mobile payment solution provider in both Finland and the world in this business sector. We focus on Europe and North Africa: we now have local presence in Morocco and Spain. Morocco is a forerunner in the area, and has recently invested substantially in education and digitalisation. We negotiate with several companies there, and aim at launching the first proofs of the concepts this autumn. We have very promising openings in Belgium and Germany, too, and are heading to Middle East next."
Is Finland a good country for developing smart mobility solutions? Why?
“Finland is one of the world’s pioneers in developing mobile platforms and technology, and hence a good place to create such solutions. Companies, cities, and organisations financing research and development have understood the great potential of ‘Mobility as a Service’ industry. The whole country benefits from third or fourth generation networks, and due to the fate of Nokia, plenty of brain energy is available.”
Technology already offers lots of possibilities but the challenge often lies in getting people to use new solutions. How do you think we could encourage people to use smart mobility solutions?
“Use of technology will grow in popularity when technology will truly facilitate the daily life of its users. Smart mobility solutions need to provide people with the same level of convenience as owning a car, but at a cheaper price. We also need pilot projects to develop things further. To set an example, the KutsuPlus service in the capital area of Finland has been a highly interesting experiment. User groups such as bands with their instruments and families with their buggies love the service.”
- Founded: 2013
- Industry: Payment transmission and related mobile applications and solutions
- Headquarters: Turku, Finland
- Number of employees: 8
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