Interview with Edmund Caldecott, CEO at Whoosh

I launched Whoosh almost a decade ago now, it’s a passenger entertainment and contact technology business which we have recently evolved to embrace the demands for constant digital solutions from consumers. I founded it in 2012, having had experience in travel technology and being a long-time champion of the rail travel experience.

Until this year, we were primarily an at-seat entertainment company working with global travel operators across the train, coach and air space, we’ve won awards for that tech development. We have worked with household names such as the Financial Times, Warner Bros and Amazon prime to provide movies, books, podcasts, magazines, advertising and CRM services to UK, Europe and throughout the world.

I’m excited about our latest development, a world-first, QR-driven, real-time information and two-way communication service.
 
 
WHOOSH
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
I have collaborated with Amy, our COO and head of product for over a decade as we previously worked together for a technology hardware provider, focusing on back of seat entertainment on Great Western Trains. This allowed us to spot opportunities within the travel-tech sector and to develop a suitable response to the desire for a real-time information sharing, two-way communication enabling and ultimately stress-reducing platform.

Life is already frantic enough without the anxiety and frustration of rail delays whether that be on your daily commute or travelling on holiday. Both Amy and I are extremely passionate about bringing rail travel into the 21st century with ground-breaking real-time information sharing capability and effective personalisation, and this is encapsulated in the Real-Time Journey Dashboard.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
Throughout our on-board entertainment work, myself and Amy first-hand identified the need to shake up the real-time information world. There is no doubt that in a post-covid world, the travel sector must be digitally-minded as the public have become so used to information at their fingertips regardless of the situation.

Also, technology can now be used to provide coronavirus-secure customer service without human interaction which is pivotal to brands moving forward. This is encapsulated by our most innovative launch ever, setting new standards in at seat-rail technology. The Real-Time Journey Dashboard provides a multitude of train operator benefits including better duty of care, enhanced DDA compliance, cost-saving and new revenue-earning opportunities while tackling the grumbles of rail travel for operators and passengers alike.
 

What can we hope to see from Whoosh in the future?

 
The future of Whoosh involves the Real-Time Journey Dashboard being rolled out across several blue-chip train operators. We hope all the readers of TechRound will be scanning their unique at-seat QR code to access their bespoke journey information. With its open-access API integration there are so many ways that the platform can evolve in bespoke ways for each operator.

We predict that Whoosh’s service will transform the outdated remit of the passenger compensation evolution and provide a swift and fraud-safe solution and the ability to compensate using voucher codes direct to customers on an individual train (or even just in one carriage) as a nice gesture of goodwill. Also, we will continue to put passengers’ experience and safety at the forefront of our work as users can safely report antisocial behaviour onboard, creating an emotionally secure environment due to enhanced safety, no Covid-touchpoints and increased communication. In summary, Whoosh can and will aid the rail industry in embracing the digital evolution!