Game-changing tech infrastructure

Frustrated by cloud-based issues, FourC’s founders are developing a better system

Photo: hirotomo t / Wikimedia Commons Flexus ticket validator for public transport in Oslo, Norway. These systems make payment easy, but the problem is that each municipality’s system is different. FourC aims to change that.

Photo: hirotomo t / Wikimedia Commons
Flexus ticket validator for public transport in Oslo, Norway. These systems make payment easy, but the problem is that each municipality’s system is different. FourC aims to change that.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

A list of the hottest startup companies to watch in Trøndelag was just published. One of them was the startup FourC. Their system is an infrastructure product with the purpose to make life easier for anyone inventing, making, managing, or selling such systems. In their view all distributed systems need a basic infrastructure to handle common tasks, and this is what they offer. Public transport is high on the political agenda. In the public transport area, FourC is providing disruptive technologies that are challenging the business models of the established players.

According to Technoport, ticketing solutions have developed fast the last years. Most of the people in Trondheim use a smart card containing their monthly ticket or buy a single-use ticket through the mobile app. In Stavanger you have to seek out and buy a card; if not you have to buy a ticket even if you use the mobile phone app. The challenge is that different municipalities use different standalone systems. Why not have a nationwide ticketing system? The only pre-cloud solution to this problem would be for every bus company to use exactly the same system.

FourC’s idea is to take the “as-a-service” concept and economy to public transport by using modern internet technologies to provide in-vehicle solutions, fully managed from the cloud. Traditional in-vehicle systems have huge long-term lock-in effects to the original supplier, which means that cost for such systems will be extremely high in the long run.

It all started in the early 2000s when several of FourC’s founders obtained practical experience with development, installation, management, and operation of distributed solutions in different companies. Each company had a short-sighted focus on product delivery at the earliest possible date. Quick solutions put limitations on delivering more functionality later. Performing debugging, troubleshooting, and updates were also difficult.

In early 2013 the idea was formed that the basic functionality that solves such problems should really not be every company’s problem. There should be a standard infrastructure service that the market could use. A larger group got involved, and in August 2013 FourC was founded. Thirteen private and financial investors initially invested in the company. FourC also managed to fully fund a four million euro, three-year R&D project.

With a more service-oriented approach, cost of IT solutions for public transport can be dramatically reduced. Other effects are that new players can enter the market more easily, and that having an open service platform available will drive innovation and create real competition, since installing new services can be done easily.

In the diamond industry “Four C” refers to carat, cut, color, and clarity. FourC is well positioned to become a diamond. According to the CEO it is time for innovative solutions for the future.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 5, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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