Our Head of Software in the UK, Nik Smit, has been with Ticketer since the beginning. Nik has played an integral role in growing Ticketer into the company it is today, and has been the driving force behind the research, development and execution of many of Ticketer’s back-office features.
We’re excited for Nik as he starts to embark on a new adventure (sadly one without ducks), but we couldn’t let him go without asking some questions about his journey with us, and how technology can play a much bigger part in the public transport industry, now and in the future.
1. Nik, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role within Ticketer?
I’ve had the privilege of being with the company for about 12 years, heading up anything software related. So that’s been the development of the onboard, backend and frontend systems, running them on a day-to-day basis, and looking after their continuous technical evolution. A hugely important aspect has been recruiting and growing the software department into the amazing team that we have today.
2. Over the years you have built an awesome Development and QA team, so could you tell us a bit more about your team and the role they play at Ticketer?
They are the heart of the company, responsible for designing, building, running and maintaining all of the software components of Ticketer. They bring new ETM and portal features to life, sweat the details over how to implement changes in ways that work the best for all, and work hand in hand with the business to react to changing dynamics and requirements of the industry. A fair deal of that is invisible to customers, but crucial to keeping critical infrastructure running smoothly 24/7 for our customers and their passengers. The team has a high-performance, and yet friendly and collaborative culture that I think many companies would envy. They’re also just genuinely great people. They have a lot to be proud of, and I’m super excited to see where they take things next.
3. What developments are you most proud of and why?
Honestly, I’m extremely proud of so many things in our system, it’s difficult to list. Like most Ticketeers, just speaking to customers (especially drivers) and hearing how the system materially helps them with BAU can make you proud. But feature-wise, those that we brought out early that allowed smaller operators to operate on an equal footing spring to mind, e.g., our EMV and ITSO functionality. More recently, providing urgently needed analytics to various governments to help with the pandemic, and our Road Restriction Alerts functionality which is reducing risk of serious accidents.
4. Can you give us sneaky peak into any future developments?
Nice try – I wouldn’t announce any features without my CMO’s consent! What I would say is that there is so much great tech to build and it’s really exciting to think about how the industry will be able to evolve over the next 12 months.
5. How can technology play a part in the public transport industry now and in the future?
In my view, technology’s role is to make the passenger experience as good as possible (providing timeous and accurate information, convenient payment options, etc.) and to support the operator in every way possible to deliver excellent services – efficiently, and consistently. From the start, we identified an opportunity to drive industry progress faster – by working with the operators collaboratively to understand how tech could help them meet their goals. There’s still a lot more to do there that we’re planning. In a more general context, I feel public transport has an important role to play in our decarbonisation efforts,and technology is key to keep pushing that reconfiguration.
6. And finally, if you could take a long bus journey with anyone famous, who would it be and why?
I think a very long conversation with Elon Musk could be…interesting.
The Ticketer Group is on a continual journey to develop and nurture existing team members, but also to introduce new people, ideas and thinking into the business. It is committed to driving innovation and development forward for our customers and the industry.
With this in mind, Tony Healy has come on board as Chief Technology and Innovation Officer (CTIO). Whilst no one could possibly replace Nik, we have found someone unique in Tony who has had significant successes in leading cross-functional teams to design and integrate leading-edge Information Technology solutions across a range of global organisations.