The opportunity of technology

Hardy Giesler, Capita

Refocusing services to take full benefit of changing technology is the way to go says Capita’s director of transportation Hardy Giesler.

Infrastructure is waking up to the impact technology is going to have on its industry and business models. BIM, 3D printing, the use of big data in planning and asset management are all bringing dramatic change to what has been a largely traditional sector.

"Everyday there is something new happening, so we have to keep our eyes open and our ears to the ground, and consider teaming up with exciting companies to see if they can help us.”

That is good news for Capita’s director of transportation, Hardy Giesler, who joined the consultant a year ago to help the organisation refocus the services it offers in the sector and who has a particular appreciation and interest in new technology.

“Technology is moving into infrastructure in a big way,” he says. “My view is that technology doesn’t replace other options but tends to add and enhance, so that people have more choice in what they want us to provide and we have more options in how we provide it.

“So the focus is on changing the offering. Everyday there is something new happening, so we have to keep our eyes open and our ears to the ground, and consider teaming up with exciting companies to see if they can help us.”

This week he is talking to MBA students at the Judge Business School in Cambridge about the importance of transportation in generating economic wealth and he has some interesting experience to draw on.

Giesler studied economics but engineering and technology has always drawn him in. “I’m an economist from a family of engineers,” he says. “I love technology and engineering  - whenever I try to run away from it, it always draws me back!”

The move to Capita was an obvious one for a man who could see how the UK’s appetite for investment in infrastructure would allow a company with some high quality engineering experience to grow and develop.

Before that he was at the cutting edge of aircraft development for a business manufacturing huge airships – Hybrid Air Vehicles.

“Their Airlander vehicles combine the benefits of aircraft and airships and are ideal for surveillance and heavy lift application.  In surveillance, they can stay in the air for up to 20 days.  In heavy lift, Airlander can carry 50 tonnes without the need for the usual ground infrastructure required by more traditional aircraft.  Flying to remote mines in Northern Canada, for example, means no need for ice roads or railway lines – a major cost benefit that also has significant environmental advantages.

Capita Transportation – some key projects

A556 Knutsford to Bowdon Bypass – the Highways Agency’s first BIM pilot 

HS2 – Capita in joint venture with Ineco is providing civil and structural design services on the 78km country north section for stage 1. 

Crossrail -  Moorgate shaft and three of the four portals. Great Western Electrification Programme 

Inverness West Link Road 

TfL - station modernisation 

National Grid – Feeder 9 pipeline across the Humber Estuary

“My job was to bring the $1bn commercial programme to market, focusing on pioneering applications in remote areas without infrastructure.”

Over the course of the 52 year old’s career he has been on the Engineering Board of London Underground, running three of its eight business units (aged just 34), has worked as a consultant for Alstom Transportation and been managing director of Tarmac Topblock.

That experience has developed in him an appreciation of the social value of infrastructure to communities.  “I care about using infrastructure to develop our  country, to leave a sustainable legacy for future generations to use.”

Hardy enjoys working in the UK engineering sector, a fertile territory for his ambition.  “What I like about the industry is the tremendous talent, ingenuity and innovation that people have.  Unlike the slogan of one of the UK’s best-known department stores, the engineering industry is ‘constantly knowingly undersold’ – there are too many brilliant UK ideas and product that are commercialised elsewhere and I would like to change that.”

The future of England’s strategic road network has huge potential for innovation thanks to new technology in Giesler’s view. “Battery technology is maturing and the future of the electric car is massive.  Battery technology aside, induction charging while travelling is also making progress.  Does this mean Highways England becomes a major supplier of power?   And could this be used to increase the utilisation of our road network?  If, for example, Highways England offered me a reduction in electricity charges for travelling a few hours earlier or later, would it not make sense to consider the option?”

Technology can also be used to increase safety and efficiency, he says.  Platooning, where vehicles are linked together like trains, is an option being championed by Volvo as part of the Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE), which is a European Commission-funded project.

“The impact could be substantial, allowing cars to join a “train” that takes them to their destination, or at least a major part of their journey, without input from the driver.  And what is the impact on public transport?  Should I join a “car train” or take public transport?    

“Engineers will be asked more and more how to get the maximum from the huge investments that infrastructure requires and how to distribute demand to get the best use of a resource”, he suggests.  “And technology has a major part to play in this.”




Now day's technology is completely dominating the entire sector; in every business we need the help of technology and advanced to develop the current business sector. Many big ventures and organizations are taking the support of technology for developments and we have found that technology doesn't replace other options; therefore technology rules the entire world and especially business organizations are looking for better techniques and support to develop their infrastructure.