MINESH NARAN HEAD OF TRANSPORT AT 1SPATIAL
Minesh is passionate about helping his clients with their challenges by recommending effective technology-based solutions. With a wealth of consultative experience spanning over a decade, he continues to work with 1Spatial’s client base across national transport infrastructure owners, local government, and private sector consultants.
What is your role within 1Spatial?
As the Head of Transport within the Commercial Team at 1Spatial, I am responsible for overseeing and driving the company’s efforts in the transport sector. It encompasses various strategic and operational responsibilities, with a focus on delivering spatial software solutions tailored to the specific needs of the transport industry.
Some of the areas I am focused on are:
• Client Engagement – this is the most enjoyable part of my role where I focus on building and maintaining strong relationships with key clients in the transport sector. Understanding their unique challenges and requirements would be essential in tailoring 1Spatial’s solutions to meet their specific needs.
• Industry Collaboration – using my experience and knowledge of Geospatial Data and Transportation, I am engaged with transport industry associations, conferences, and forums to establish thought leadership and foster collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders in the sector.
Tell us about your career before you joined 1Spatial.
I started off my career in the UK as a Geospatial Technician, where my primary role was to analyse and visualise data, which involved consolidating information from various sources. However, I found myself spending excessive time manually checking, cleaning, and fixing the data, which hindered my productivity.
Recognising the importance of client engagement and face-to-face interactions, I decided to transition into a sales role within the same domain. This move allowed me to leverage my technical expertise while also enjoying the opportunity to work closely with clients, understand their unique needs, and provide tailored solutions. By combining my geospatial knowledge with effective sales strategies, I am now able to deliver value to clients while helping them make informed decisions through the power of geospatial data validation, integration and sharing.
Can you tell us more about 1Spatial?
Since its inception in 1969, 1Spatial has had a proven track-record in very large-scale spatial data management and data quality assurance. The company works with some of the largest spatial databases in the world and delivers innovative data management solutions and component technologies that underpin the successful business of its customers.
Our software architects and developers, project managers, consultants and support engineers work as an integrated team to design, develop and implement industry-leading solutions that support major digital transformation and data management changes. We work closely with our customers to deliver the knowledge transfer necessary to ensure that they acquire the skills and expertise that provide them with a strong degree of control of the solution and ownership of our future evolution.
What are some major projects you’re currently working on?
We are working with HS2, the company responsible for developing the UK’s new high-speed rail network, to build a data validation gateway. The gateway will enable HS2 to validate the quality, conformance and design of construction-related data submitted by their supply chain which in turn, will contribute to the efficiency and effective information delivery on Europe’s largest infrastructure project.
The gateway comprises 1Spatial’s 1Data Gateway product as a web portal for data uploading, and 1Integrate to check the compliance and quality of the data against stringent HS2 standards and criteria. This will enable validated data to then be passed onto a Common Data Environment (CDE) to ensure compliance with wider UK government Digital Engineering initiatives.
Through 1Spatial’s products, the gateway will create greater reliability of data and reduce risks by delivering consistent and accurate geometrical, geospatial, and non-geometrical data ingested across the full Common Data Environment domain.
We also work with Network Rail, Transport for London, Transport for Wales, and East-West Rail.
What success have you experienced in the last twelve months and how do you measure success?
1Spatial is establishing itself as a trusted advisor and solution provider within the transportation sector. We are working with large transportation infrastructure asset owners and with well-known Tier 1 contractors within their supply chains. We measure success by the positive feedback we have had from across the stakeholder hierarchy into which we continue to expand our contracts.
What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
1Spatial’s unique selling point lies in its innovative and comprehensive approach to spatial data management and governance. As a leading global provider of spatial software solutions, 1Spatial offers cutting edge technology that enables organisations to harness the power of location-based data effectively.
What sets 1Spatial apart is its ability to automate, validate, and optimise complex geospatial processes, ensuring data
accuracy, integrity, and compliance. Our people and products empower businesses to make informed decisions, improve operational efficiencies, and gain valuable insights from spatial data, enhancing their overall productivity and competitiveness. With a strong focus on data quality and intelligent automation, 1Spatial remains at the forefront of spatial data management,
catering to verticals such as government, utilities, built-environment, defence and of course, transportation.
When a client comes to you with a particular problem, what is your process for coming up with a solution, and closely do you work with clients throughout the projects?
I take a consultative approach, working closely with both the client and several 1Spatial teams. My process begins by actively listening to the client’s specific problem and understanding their unique needs and goals. I focus on their business and user requirements detailing, process, data flows and formats, honing in on bottle-necks and pain-points. Once I have a clear understanding of these, I develop a customised and comprehensive plan that outlines the steps and strategies required to address the challenges effectively. I work collaboratively with experienced colleagues that sit within Enterprise and Solution Architecture, Presales, Product, Professional Services and Support.
Throughout the sales cycle and project delivery, I believe in maintaining a close and collaborative relationship with the client. Regular communication and updates ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding progress and any adjustments needed along the way. I actively seek feedback from the client during each phase of the project, valuing their insights and incorporating them into the solution whenever possible.
This collaborative approach ensures that the outcome aligns with the client’s vision and meets their expectations. Additionally, I remain readily available to address any concerns, provide clarifications, or make modifications as needed, ensuring a successful and satisfactory project delivery.
With the coming launch of Great British Railways, how do you anticipate you place within the supply chain changing?
As an organisation that already works with players in rail, Great British Railways will undoubtedly have a significant impact on our place within the supply chain. With the centralisation of operations and infrastructure management under this new entity, we anticipate a more streamlined and standardised approach to procurement and collaboration.
Our role may evolve to align with the changes in the supply chain dynamics, and we are optimistically foreseeing increased opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with other stakeholders in the rail ecosystem.
While there might be challenges ahead, we are committed to leveraging our expertise and experience to continue providing high-quality products and services that support the efficiency and growth of the reimagined rail network under Great British Railways.
What are some of the biggest challenges this sector currently faces?
The UK’s rail system has witnessed significant modernisation efforts in recent years, with advancements in technology, safety measures, and infrastructure upgrades. However, the industry also faces challenges, such as capacity constraints, funding issues, and the need to reduce its environmental impact.
Despite these challenges, the UK rail industry remains a vital component of the nation’s public transport, contributing to economic growth, connectivity, and sustainability. Continuous efforts are being made to enhance its services and address the evolving needs of passengers and businesses across the country.
Where do you think the industry will be in the next 10-15 years?
The rail industry will undergo continued evolution over the next 10 to 15 years. I would draw out these predictions:
• Digitalisation and Automation – the rail industry is likely to undergo significant digital transformation, with an increased focus on automation and data-driven decision-making. Smart technologies, IoT sensors, and predictive analytics will play a crucial role in optimising operations, enhancing safety, and improving the overall passenger experience.
• Electrification and Sustainability – there will likely be a stronger push toward the electrification of rail networks to reduce carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. Advancements in battery and charging technologies may also lead to more efficient and sustainable hybrid or battery-electric trains.
• Integration with Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) – rail transportation is expected to be integrated into broader Mobility-as-a-Service platforms, allowing passengers to seamlessly plan, book, and pay for multi-modal journeys, combining trains with other forms of transportation like buses, taxis, and shared mobility services.
• Urbanisation and Rail Integration – as urban populations increase, there might be a greater emphasis on integrating mail networks with urban planning, creating seamless connections between residential areas, business districts, and key transportation hubs.
Overall, the rail industry is likely to evolve rapidly over the next decade. It is important to note that the predictions above will all be underpinned by the need for greater data integration and sharing, but importantly, with an increased need for high-quality data. This need will unlock innovation, embrace technological advancements and sustainability initiatives to meet the demands of a changing world and deliver efficient, eco-friendly, and interconnected transportation solutions.