Future 50: Scottish government contract for communications software firm 

Justin Bowser and Marlon Bowser, co-founders of HTK

Marlon Bowser (right) co-founded HTK with his brother Justin in 1996 - Credit: Abbott Photography

HTK, a communications software specialist, has secured a lucrative 12-year contract to supply the flood warning dissemination system for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).  

The Ipswich-based company won a competitive tender process with BT to upgrade SEPA’s existing Floodline system, which issues regional flood alerts and local flood warnings to at-risk areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

HTK’s software generates automated texts or phone calls for people who have signed up to receive advance notice of flooding in the area where they live, work or travel. 

“To renew with SEPA for another 12 years is a great endorsement for the team, and it gives us a good springboard to sell similar solutions internationally,” said CEO Marlon Bowser, who co-founded HTK with his brother Justin in 1996.    

“We are now starting to look at other parts of the world that have a similar need – especially developing economies and island nations – and whether our software can be used to help save lives. We host with Amazon Web Services, so it's all in the cloud and can be deployed anywhere globally.

“Wherever there's any kind of environmental incident, such as flooding, drought or typhoons, or even civil uprising, it's critical to get the right message to people in the areas that are affected, at the right time. That's where our software can help.” 

A flood warning sign on a closed country road next to waterlogged fields

HTK's software generates automated texts or phone calls to give people advance notice of flooding in their area - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


Pascal Lardet, flood unit manager for SEPA, said: “SEPA has a pivotal role to play in helping communities avoid flood risk where they can, adapt where they cannot and act when warned of flooding. Developing a messaging system, which is both resilient and innovative, is key to ensuring residents and businesses have the information relevant to them when it matters most. 

“The science on climate change is clear that extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future. Flooding is just one example that poses a real threat to people and property. The impacts can be devastating and that’s why it’s more important than ever to have a system like this in place.” 

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The SEPA win adds to other HTK public-sector clients including Defra and approximately 20 police forces around the UK. The company also provides marketing automation software and services to private-sector firms such as Texaco, Krispy Kreme and Virgin Media O2.  

“Our platform makes it easy for mid-market and large brands to run consumer engagement and loyalty programmes, create brand affinity and drive more sales,” said Marlon. “We help businesses know who their customers are, understand their behaviours and propensity to buy – and then engage them in smart ways.

"By connecting people, data and real-time context, we’re creating positive commercial, societal and environmental impact – which I’m hugely proud of.”

HTK has recently recruited people in both the software engineering and technical operations teams, to accelerate product development and delivery of the SEPA solution.

For more information, visit www.htk.co.uk