ZED Digital Enables Contactless Payment Validation and Check-In for Public Transit and Events

Imagine boarding a bus without fumbling for your iPhone to scan your mobile ticket. Even better, imagine not having to wait in line to enter a sports event. What if you could instead board the bus or walk into a football game with your phone in your pocket or your purse?

Public transit riders in Ohio and other states are saving time and traveling safer since ZED Digital began providing touchless “smart environment” solutions using Internet of Things (IoT) technology. ZED is now expanding this technology to attractions venues and sports arenas to give people a queue-less, contactless and seamless experience.

Speed, Safety, and Improved Customer Service

“We were working on a trip planner project for public transportation,” said Sumithra Jagannath, ZED Digital CEO, “when we realized that one of the main reasons busses can be late is that the boarding process can take so much time.”

It’s not just that farebox equipment doesn’t scan properly; the human process is slow. You have to take your phone or your bus pass out of your bag, set down whatever else you are carrying, and then scan until the fare reader works. “When you have fifty people doing that,” Jagannath said, “It will delay a bus, no matter how effective the original schedule was.”

Jagannath launched ZED Digital to improve the operating efficiency of buses just before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. “We had a pilot that was going really well,” she said. “Suddenly, just like that, there was no more marketing possible. No one knew what Covid was. Everything was shutting down.”

Then the most amazing thing occurred.

“We saw this technology take its own wings,” Jagannath said. “Bus drivers liked that passengers could board quickly. That prevented people from crowding around the farebox area. It reduced drivers’ and passengers’ exposure to germs. The health and safety benefit opened up a whole new world.”

Over the last two years, ZED Digital’s mobility app has spread to 150 cities. Pilot projects that took root during the pandemic have evolved into state-wide implementations. Resellers have signed up.

“Innovation is a brand that we stand by,” Jagannath said. “We bring highly innovative products to market. When we saw the impact of our transit solution and how it impacted people, we realized that this has the potential to make places safer. That gave a whole new dimension to our mission. We are now looking for resellers of this technology to the global attractions, entertainment, and sports markets.”

Rev1’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Grant Fund Fuels Next Steps.

As a Rev1 client company with offices in Rev1 Labs, ZED Digital has benefited from venture services, including business planning and expert services from Rev1 advisors. The firm has been awarded a $100,000 grant through Rev1’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Grant Fund (DE&I). The company will be using the grant to fund salaries for crucial hires to accelerate feature development for new markets. The next market focus of the company is sporting events and attractions.

“We would like to see venues in Central Ohio be the first to benefit from this technology,” Jagannath said. “We have museums, sporting events, and concert venues here. We should be the first “Smart City” and a showcase for this technology to the rest of the world.”