Lilian has spent the past 9 years as the chair of the Transport Select Committee so has a special interest in the work that KeTech does, and indeed, an understanding of the impact of KeTech’s innovations. Of course, the interest was two-fold as KeTech’s head office is based in Nottingham.
Upon her arrival (by bus) Lilian informed us that she had recently given up her car in favour of public transport; something which better helps her understand the travel requirements of her constituents, and the general public as a whole given that she often has to travel to London and around the UK. Since relinquishing her car, she noted that careful journey planning was now much more important, but the benefit of public transport had been almost instant with the journey time now being free to catch up on work, replying to e-mails, and generally allowing herself time for thought.
The team gave Lilian a guided tour, showcasing KeTech’s design and manufacturing facility as well as software capabilities. On the tour she saw the components for Public Address control outstations being hand-assembled and likened it to “model building”. Taking the time to speak with skilled employees and take in demonstrations of KeTech’s systems, Lilian was impressed with the “Remarkably clear” PA announcements and its bespoke innovations such as for its DOO (Driver Operated Only) system which includes a unique system feature, designed specifically for Crossrail’s bi-directional trains.
Conversation led to the challenges the rail industry faces; managing increasing requirements and expectations with aging rolling stock as-well-as the obstacles facing SME’s, like KeTech, in engaging with the complex matrix of stakeholders. There have been calls to simplify the structure of the rail industry in a bid to ensure a consistent standard of customer experience.
Amongst the discussions, we touched upon a recent report which highlighted the importance of having accurate information readily available to passengers; specifically, that mobile device apps should not be accepted as the primary means of communicating journey information. Lilian recalled how inconsistent information exacerbated problems that travellers faced during the timetabling problems in summer of 2018.
KeTech’s newest innovation was also available for demonstration; Connected Driver Advisory System (CDAS). After explaining the difficulties that others have experienced in implementing such a system, most notably the inability to connect to signalling systems in advance of the long-awaited “Digital Railway”, it was a proud moment to show that KeTech can achieve such connectivity before anyone else in the rail industry. As someone with a longstanding interest in the rail sector Lilian was thoroughly aware of the potential benefits; fuel efficiency, time efficiency, financial savings. In response to the demonstration, Lilian expressed “This is genuinely exciting!”
The visit proved a success with enlightening discussions and insights from both parties. KeTech certainly gained a greater understanding of the wider challenges facing the rail industry and we hope that Lilian left with a fuller knowledge of KeTech’s ability and willingness to provide solutions.