8 January 2018

Innovation, Partnership and Big Breaks

“Active Workspace has only supplied AURES till units for the past decade, so pleased are we with the quality, reliability and design, as well as the speed and efficiency of service from AURES. The YUNO in its various forms suits the needs of every one of our current customers, whether as a till with rear display and fingerprint reader or a wall mounted order point or kitchen screen.”

Ross Ranson, Founder and Managing Director.

Active Workspace has been a leading supplier of IT solutions to the UK hospitality industry for more than 25 years. Having started out developing software solutions for snooker clubs, the business has since expanded its reach across the leisure club sector and the wider hospitality industry.

For the past decade, Active Workspace has exclusively supplied AURES point of sale terminals and other hardware to compliment its flagship software platform, MemSec EPOS.


The Active Workspace story begins in Chelmsford Snooker Club on the Rivermead Industrial Estate in Chelmsford, Essex. In 1990, member Ross Ranson, a keen snooker player and electrical engineering graduate,was asked by the club’s management if he would be able to write a software program to help manage membership.

Using his expertise in programming, Ross wrote a solution and called it MemSec – short for membership secretary. A business was born, and in March last year Active Workspace expanded into offices alongside Chelmsford Snooker Club, so returning to the building where the business began.

Active Workspace’s big break came when Ross decided to add to the functionality of the MemSec program so it included a system for controlling the lights on snooker tables. Snooker clubs earn income by renting tables out for fixed periods of time, and the way this is controlled is by switching lights above the tables on and off. Poor control of this leads to lost revenue – if the lights aren’t switched off at the appointed time, people can play for free.

“I commissioned the design of a unit to directly turn table lights on and off,” explained Ross. “This made MemSec by far the most secure system on the market, since all the others merely responded to a switch being flicked. If the computer wasn’t on, the light going on wasn’t recorded. For hundreds of clubs up and down the UK, an investment in MemSec therefore represented excellent value and provided an immediate return on investment.”

The early 90s had seen a rapid growth in the snooker club sector with lots of small, independent clubs forming. Many of these soon amalgamated under the Rileys brand. On the back of the buzz around the MemSec Table Control software, Rileys adopted the product at all of its clubs in 1995. It has been a customer ever since.

Move into EPOS

By 2000, MemSec Table Control was being used in a large proportion of snooker clubs in the UK. Business was good, but Ross realised the company needed to innovate and diversify its product range if it was going to continue its success so far. Looking for other software solutions it could offer to customers, the company began to weigh up EPOS.

Ross said: “We looked into the EPOS market and saw that most of the products available at that time (and indeed many still around) were essentially computerised versions of old cash registers. Instead, we devised a program from scratch that tried to make best possible use of the emerging touch-screen and processing technologies.”

MemSec EPOS included features to meet the very specific demands of snooker clubs, for example to handle the table transactions from the MemSec Table Control program. But Ross was already thinking beyond snooker clubs, and to make the product as flexible and as suitable for as broad a market as possible, it was designed so specific features could easily be turned on and off, and new ones added as required.

“Our market has always been the hospitality industry and so our software has been specifically tailored to meet the diverse but often very particular demands of that industry,” said Ross. “One of the key advantages we have as an SME with a clearly defined customer base is the ability to adapt our software quickly. Indeed, it is only through feedback from customers that we’ve been able to provide software that so precisely and easily meets the industry’s various needs.”

Working with AURES

The development of MemSec EPOS required Active Workspace to find a partner to provide point of sale hardware to run its software on. “We tried various manufacturers of all-in-one till units as well as separate PC and touch screen bundles but found that they were either unreliable, difficult to get repaired or both,” said Ross. 

Active Workspace came across AURES in the mid-2000s. The company decided to try the former AURES 1500 terminals, and were impressed with the performance. In addition, the fact that AURES had a repair base in the UK meant turnaround times for tackling faults were greatly reduced for customers.

Then in 2007, Rileys decided to adopt MemSec EPOS to run alongside its existing Table Control installations. “They needed hardware that would run the MemSec software well, look good in the clubs and most importantly be reliable,” said Ross. “AURES’ then flagship product was the Odyssé and its customisable colour scheme meant the terminals could be blended with the colour scheme of the Rileys clubs.”

Active Workspace rolled out in excess of 200 Odyssé tills to more than 160 Rileys clubs across the UK. The terminals were installed with a tailored version of the MemSec EPOS software which included an enhanced end-user program and bespoke head office system which is still in use today.

Following the success of this major roll out, Active Workspace has only supplied AURES hardware, recently switching from the Odyssé model to the AURES YUNO. The YUNO is a powerful, stylish and compact modern touchscreen terminal which offers the flexibility of multiple configurations, and has played a role in Active Workspace expanding its reach into the wider hospitality market.

“Active Workspace has only supplied AURES till units for the past decade, so pleased are we with the quality, reliability and design, as well as the speed and efficiency of service from AURES,” said Ross. “The YUNO in its various forms suits the needs of every one of our current customers, whether as a till with rear display and fingerprint reader or a wall mounted order point or kitchen screen.”

In 2013, Active Workspace rewrote the core MemSec software to make it more responsive, reliable and better adapted to today’s connected world. Memsec7 combines integrated applications for EPOS, Cue Sports, Table Booking, Kitchen Monitoring and more in one easy-to-use program. It offers all the benefits of a cloud-based system, such as remote access and reporting, but without associated risks such as loss of connection or potential non-GDPR compliance with servers based overseas.

Customers like the Staffordshire-based Caldmore Taverns group now run MemSec7, installed on YUNO terminals, in each of its pubs, plus a central back office function. Active Workspace’s background in membership systems also means that Memsec7 can run loyalty packages, even including individually designed customer swipe cards.

Other features available include gift cards, handheld waiter pads, integrated chip & pin both at the counter and at table, online table bookings for a fraction of the cost of other systems, online loyalty integration and much more. “Because we know we can rely on the AURES hardware,“ says Ross, “we are able to spend more time improving the software and introducing new features and improved functionality. This means our customers get the best of both worlds.”

About Active Workspace

Active Workspace is the company behind MemSec EPOS, a user-friendly and feature-rich EPOS system for the hospitality industry. Developed originally as a membership and table control software platform for cue sports venues, MemSec EPOS has evolved into a comprehensive suite of solutions which includes restaurant booking, kitchen monitoring and back office management applications. The latest version, Memsec7, is a highly configurable and scalable platform suitable for use across the hospitality sector.

Active Workspace is based in Chelmsford, Essex. For more information, please visit