With over 31 million journeys made across the London Underground network each day, it’s hard to imagine a life without transport tech such as the Oyster Card.
Thanks to ESP Group, which delivers mass transit smartcards to the customers of Transport for London, the Association of Train Operating Companies, London Councils and even the Scottish Government, it’s safe to say that the company has changed the way we get from A to B. Recently taking their rightful place in The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 league table for the second year running, the Hull-based giant met with us to discuss their exciting plans for the future of transit.
“We’re so pleased about being listed,” CFO Michael Longman enthuses. “It has given our developers here in Hull a real sense of pride to be working for a leading tech company, as well as raising ESP’s profile and accruing marketing benefit.”
The league table is released each September and ranks Britain’s top 100 private tech companies, based on the fastest-growing sales over the last three years. All featured must meet certain criteria, such as being a UK registered, independent tech company with sales of at least £250,000 in the base year (2012/2013) and at least £5 million in their latest year (2015 or 2016). ESP Group reached 34th place this time around, gaining the honour thanks to sales of £67.7 million in 2015 and achieving a 96.25% annual sales rise over a three-year period.
Founded in 1994 by CEO Terry Dunn, the company now has three leading operating companies under its belt, helping major transport operators and key cities to run smoothly by supplying smart cards and support services to the mass transit industry.
Project Manager Ben Langley elaborates on daily operations: “In Hull, we have a smart development and production team of 75 called Systex, as well as two successful Scottish-based operating companies, including 340 customer service agents at Journeycall in Arbroath and our future-visioning team at Viaqqio in Edinburgh.”
The project team here at C4DI is currently focusing on redeveloping and relaunching their Customer Management System, which was first built over fifteen years ago. “In order to be successful, we have had to collaborate with industry leading experts, transform our approach and embrace change,” added Ben.
The flagship project aims to provide a higher quality and more cost-effective service, enabling the ESP Group to meet the operational challenges of the future. Following delivery of the initial MVP core system, the team’s next focus is to further develop the technology in collaboration with their customers and colleagues at Journeycall.
Being based at the C4DI has definitely had its benefits, as Ben explains: “We took space at C4DI to get our team in and working alongside leading tech companies in the area and ‘spark’ off other developers operating at the forefront of technology.”
Co-located in inspiring surroundings and away from operational distractions has allowed the team to focus on a new way of thinking and working together: “We’re very happy we made the move, as it has led to increased productivity and the adoption of an agile software development methodology, which was a core objective for the team.”
From the daily commute, to weekend festival wristbands and even student passes, the UK certainly relies on this sort of tech. With the Systex team at the C4DI working hard to improve its applications, the future of travel and event access could surely be as stress-free as a swipe of a piece of plastic or the flash of a mobile device.
To find out exactly how ESP’s technologies are changing the world we live in, take a look through their case studies.