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Celebrating 20 Years of SPARK® TSL: From Marina WiFi to NHS Innovation

6 minute read | 30/10/2023

Celebrating 20 Years of SPARK® TSL: From Marina WiFi to NHS Innovation

Today we turn 20! Like all businesses, we’ve been through ups and downs, but without all of it, we wouldn’t be where we are today; The leading suppliers for Hospital WiFi and patient entertainment systems in the UK. It’s a tremendous achievement. Now, our vision is to remove the patient pays model and upgrade the old bedside units into the modern day.  

Join us below for a trip down memory lane and see where we came from, and where we’re going.  


The Beginning of WiFi SPARK

It started with a boat called Ma Belle. Let me explain.  

Matthew O’Donovan, our CEO, owned a boat that was moored in Torquay Marina in Devon. Back in 2004, there was no real option for internet connectivity at the marina, and being the tech geek that he is, Matt found it difficult to accept. In the CEO’s own words:Matt-O'Donovan-CEO-SPARK-TSL

“I believed that WiFi for marinas really should be quite an achievable thing to do and grew the idea from there. As a team we have built a bespoke platform that can be used across a variety of locations, businesses and sectors. It all started from a problem that needed a solution, and ultimately, that is the very ethos of our business; creating and tailoring solutions for businesses that will provide their customers with the best possible WiFi user experience.”

– Matt O’Donovan

The business has now evolved with a predominant focus on the healthcare sector. Today, SPARK® TSL is the largest provider of patient entertainment and WiFi to the NHS.

Our SPARK® Software is changing lives and digitally transforming the NHS.

Company Timeline

  • 2003 - Founded
  • 2004 - Secured MDL Marinas as first customer becoming largest Marina WiFi provider  
  • 2005 - First big Healthcare customer, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust  
  • 2010 - Deployed first Cloud-based WiFi platform, full NMS and 24/7 helpdesk
  • 2012 - Platform handles over 100,000 sessions per day 
  • 2014 - Moved to HQ in Exeter doubling staff numbers
  • 2015 - Created SPARK® Analytics
  • 2016 - Rebranding 
  • 2018 - Developed WiFi sensors for specialist customers
  • 2019 - WiFi SPARK acquires Tele247
  • 2020 - WiFi SPARK joins Volaris and 650 SaaS businesses
  • 2021 - WiFi SPARK acquires Hospedia
  • 2023 - WiFi SPARK and Hospedia join under one name, SPARK® TSL.

Volaris and Acquiring Hospedia

In 2020, we were acquired by the The Volaris Group, which is part of the largest IT company in Canada, Constellation Software Inc.

Volaris acquires, strengthens, and grows software companies, offering them a safe and permanent home. They position companies like, SPARK® TSL, for long term sustainable growth. Currently, Volaris companies span the globe and provide specialised mission-critical solutions to over 30 unique vertical markets.

We were excited to become a part of the Volaris Group, as it provides us with additional resources and opportunities. To both strengthen and expand our offering and market presence. This means there is an opportunity for an even better future together with our customers, with stronger products and services to offer.

They’re also the reason we could acquire Hospedia and created the inspiration for our CEO to focus on mergers and acquisitions. The answer isn’t always found internally. The best way to take our products to the next level is by bringing in others who are doing a similar thing and combining technology.

Celebrating 30 years of HospediaSPARK(R) TSL ReBrand

After the acquisition of Hospedia, the two companies have become more and more aligned. The company previously known as Hospedia had it’s 30th Birthday in July and still has employees who have been working for the company for over 20 years. Moving forward, both WiFi SPARK and Hospedia will be celebrating their joint efforts through our rebrand to SPARK® TSL as the two companies are now one.

Our Vision & Future Plans

The vision is to ensure that no patient pays for entertainment. This is a large reason why we acquired Hospedia

20 years ago, £150,000,000 worth of infrastructure was provided to the NHS free of charge by Hospedia, to install 54,000 bedside units in hospitals. However, these units are rather dated and provide a basic service compared to what today’s technology is capable of. We need to work with the NHS to upgrade these units to SPARK® Horizon by using the existing Hospedia infrastructure.

If not an upgrade, we need to move towards a Trust and charity paid model to cover the TV service on the existing bedside units. We have the facility to benefit staff and the Trusts as well with clinical applications at the bedside, making for a well-rounded and informative platform.

SPARK® is a complete solution for patient WiFi, entertainment and engagement. As well as the upgraded bedside units, SPARK® Horizon, we have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solution called SPARK® Media. Having both options allows for social inclusivity. We aim to enhance the patient experience and improve bedside care with services to benefit patients, staff and Trusts themselves.

We plan to upgrade all existing bedside units to SPARK® Horizon, and if not already there, light up SPARK® Media on patient’s own devices for the BYOD solution.

Learn more about the rebrand

75% of patients want digital healthcare services

So let’s work together to give it to them, all while optimising NHS processes.

Speak to us

Ready to SPARK a change in patient experience?

Speak to a member of the SPARK team and learn how we can work together to improve patient experience