Irish company 8 West Consulting has been building enterprise-scale software applications for a range of clients across the US and Europe for the past 20 years. Their customer list includes many household names such as Levi’s, Estee Lauder, Jo Malone, Avon, Ralph Lauren, and eBay.
The company’s focus is to provide business and technology solutions to clients in the insurance, healthcare and retail markets, along with others who require high-quality, scalable and maintainable software in fields ranging from publishing to community safety.
“We build very-large-scale e-commerce solutions and integrate them with client systems”, says John Murphy, co-CEO, 8 West Consulting. “Our software handles billions of transactions for customers around the world every day. That is our core business and we have been very successful.”
The business became 100-percent Irish owned two years ago, following a management buyout from its US parent, led by Murphy and his co-CEO Eamonn Franklin.
“We now have 220 employees based mainly in Cork in Ireland, with a few scattered around Europe and so on,” added Murphy. “Most of our customers are in the US and EMEA, and the great majority of our sales are overseas.”
A New Opportunity
In 2013, the 8 West team embarked on a new venture with the launch of their highly-innovative SafeTrx maritime safety smartphone app. The app tracks vessels at sea and, on activation, sends the user’s location to the SafeTrx Monitoring Console. The coastguard or other emergency response services can instantly view the position of the vessel, access its name and last reported position, and dispatch a lifeboat or other rescue craft to its location. The SafeTrx App also monitors vessel journeys and alerts emergency contacts should the craft fail to reach a destination as planned.
SafeTrx is now the world’s leading maritime search and rescue application, with over 750,000 recorded hours of use around the world. SafeTrx is now also the standard marine mobile safety platform in nine countries – Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Finland, Norway, Australia, and South Africa.
The app has its origins in Murphy’s enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits, including mountaineering. He found himself stranded in bad weather and gathering darkness on the Mont Blanc du Tacul one evening in 2010. Fortunately, his mobile phone still worked and despite frostbitten fingers, he was able to call for help and was eventually rescued by helicopter. Eight years on, the app has become the de facto standard in northern Europe with new customers in other markets coming on board all the time.
“Our clients are national coastguards and other organizations responsible for marine rescue”, says Murphy. “Take-up was slow at first, but the Dutch are seen as world leaders in this space and when they came on board with SafeTrx, other organizations quickly came onboard.”
Work is already underway on the next generation of SafeTrx. At present, the team is working with a customer to develop new elements which would see autonomous drones dispatched to the vessel’s location in advance of the rescue services, assisting in the verification of call-outs and even allow for supplies to be brought to people in distress.
With both SafeTrx and the company’s enterprise software business, Murphy sees continued growth and success for all aspects of the business. But Murphy cautions that innovation and adaptability are key to future accomplishment.
“We will continue to develop and grow our core software business as we also advance the SafeTrx app, but we recognize that the business shouldn’t stay the same,” added Murphy. “In today’s environment, if you stay the same, you can’t expect to stay in business for very long. Technology and society are about change — and we won’t just let change happen to us, we will lead the change.”