“Breathing fresh energy into business”- St Agnes Boating
St Agnes Boating is a family run business providing year- round ferry services for the community of St Agnes on the Isles of Scilly, with its two boats, the Spirit of St Agnes and the Enterprise.
Owner John Peacock says: “Superfast broadband has allowed us to completely revolutionise the way we run the business. It has not only speeded up all our processes, it has also breathed fresh energy into the business, by allowing us to develop a revolutionary new app. This is the first local boating app to be launched in the South West of England and is a significant innovation for the regional marine industry.”
The new app is designed for visitors to the islands as well as the residents of St. Agnes seeking to view all its boating services, and to book and pay for their boating tickets via their smartphones.
Downloadable on both Android and Apple devices, the St. Agnes Boating app enables users to pre-book and pre-pay for all their boating needs – both scheduled services and “taxi” services – months in advance. The whole process is quick and easy to use, and is greener too, with no requirement for paper tickets.
The “taxi” boating options are particularly useful, as passengers can view, via the app, every taxi trip that’s been requested so that they can opt to “share” the same taxi and hence lower the unit cost of the booking, if convenient to do so.
John says: “We now have great superfast connectivity on the Isles of Scilly as well as 4G, so using the app is straightforward for people on the islands. This is completely innovative software” says John. ““This is ground-breaking for the islands as it is the first time anyone visiting the Isles of Scilly or living here will have, at their fingertips via their mobile, the exact departure times for all our boating services at any time of the year. Everything you need – from getting to and from St Agnes or planning your island hopping trips, to purchasing your daily tickets and weekly passes – can be done directly via the St Agnes Boating app or our website.”
John adds: “Already, more than 50% of our payments are now taken online or by card. We have a PDQ Machine on the boats as well as offer online booking.”
He continues: “Superfast broadband is also helping speed up our everyday processes. All our systems are now cloud based – everything from our accountancy system to file transfer and online backup. The improvement in our productivity is breathtaking.”
“We have also recently launched a new responsive website with an upgraded ‘back end’ to make the most of the functionality that superfast broadband enables. It is a fully responsive site that our customers can access and use easily from their own mobile devices.”
“Meanwhile, cloud based services are leading us to explore further uncharted waters” says John. “Every boat company has to carry out a wide range of safety measures. For example, every boat must always report how many people it has on board to someone on shore. Conventionally, this has been done by telling someone in the office onshore, or leaving the information in writing onshore. We have negotiated with the Maritime Coastguard Agency that we can supply the details to them electronically, via the cloud. We are the first domestic passenger ferry in the UK to do that. I can access the cloud from my iPad on the boat as well as from our offices.”
John concludes: “Superfast broadband is helping us transform the way we run the business and provide a better service to our customers, right at the cutting edge of technology.”