Have you ever thought about using technology to reduce your travel costs or time spent on the road?!
For example, video-conferencing instead of travelling to meetings can mean avoiding traffic and long days. Online resources and apps can help you plan your journey, using the fastest or most direct routes. Or you can set up a ‘home office’ for days when your work schedule allows you to work from home.
Technology-based alternatives to travel have helped Vodafone Ireland achieve a 45% reduction in air travel emissions in just one year.
Vodafone Ireland has expanded its video-conferencing facilities from 3 rooms to 12, and high quality videoconferencing facilities are now available to all staff.
The company is also piloting the use of web conferencing (all staff have access to computer webcams and headsets) and online moderated discussion workshops
With the help of appropriate staff training, alternatives to travel such as video and web conferencing are now part of ‘business as usual’ at Vodafone Ireland.
Video conferences are a great way to save money, time, and energy while still getting as much or more work done than before. It has really taken off as an attractive option when communicating with friends, colleagues, and clients.
Despite its simplicity, there are many things you can do to – or not do – to ensure a great virtual meeting.
1. Give and take — questions and answers — are the bedrock of communication. In a video conference, you are hampered by not having everyone in front of you. This is especially apparent when you ask a question, as it is sometimes difficult for your participants to know who you are talking to. Make sure you say a person’s name at the beginning of your question.
2. An issue specific to virtual meetings is the mute button. The microphones pick up every noise. This includes side conversations, rustling papers, moving chairs, etc. Your noise may cut out the audio. Mute buttons are essential to having a well-ordered and quiet meeting, and their use should be encouraged. However, they can slow up Q&A sessions, especially impromptu ones. When you ask someone a question, make sure you give them a few seconds to respond. This allows them time to unmute themselves.
3. Couch your questions to address the least amount of responses. For example, don’t ask if everyone understands; ask who doesn’t understand.
4. Video conferencing technology is hi-tech, but that just means it will do what it is supposed to. Speak in a normal tone of voice. Don’t worry, they will hear you. If you can’t help but worry that people can’t hear you, test your sound first. Get your participants to introduce themselves at the beginning of the conference. Not only will this help break the ice, but will also allow you to hear their volume and sound quality.
5. It may feel counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t look very often at the people on your screen, especially when you are addressing them. The best place to look while speaking is directly into the camera lens. Your participants will get the impression that you are looking directly at them. This creates a more trustworthy, congenial experience between them and you.
6. Movements are exaggerated on camera; to help you hit your “mark,” use your mouse as your anchor point. Hold on to the mouse naturally while setting up your camera. Then, as you move back and forth pay attention to how far your arm bends or straightens. When you’re live, you’ll be able to keep yourself seen.
7. When creating presentation materials such as agendas, charts, Power Point presentations, etc. use large fonts to compensate for best results. Avoid fonts that are smaller than 14pt. Courier can be difficult to see.
8. Your clothes say a lot about you. To provide the best view of you, try to dress in light pastels and muted colours. Bright, loud colours can make your skin look strange on screen. Busy patterns too are something to avoid.
9. While your clothes are telling your participants about you, so is the spot that you chose to do your conference from. Other than the obvious point that what you have on your desk and behind you will make impressions on your participants, they can also be detrimental to your video quality. Try to have a clean or bare background with a neutral colour. Keep all camera-visible areas neat and decluttered. Not only will you look better on screen, it says something about how you work.
10. Just like a “live” meeting, appoint a meeting facilitator, send agenda and materials ahead of time and set clear objectives regarding what will be accomplished in the session and communicate them to participants.
Online apps and Tools
1. Real Time Passenger Information
Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) will show you when your bus, train or Luas is due to arrive at your stop so you can plan your journey more accurately.
You can access Real Time Passenger Information a number of different ways depending on where you are or what suits you.
The easiest way to access Real Time Information is by entering your bus stop number on transportforireland.ie, by using the Apps, or by texting your bus stop number to 53035.
The TFI Real Time Ireland App is the only App that provides live, real-time information for Go-Ahead Ireland, Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, DART, Iarnród Éireann and Luas services. The App provides live updates, helping you plan your journey more efficiently on the TFI public transport network.
2. LEAP card
TFI Leap Card is a convenient way to pay for public transport services in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, Athlone and Wexford.
It saves you carrying change and TFI Leap Card fares are up to 31% cheaper than cash single tickets! TFI Leap Card users in the Dublin area also benefit from smart discount features such as Capping and the Leap 90 Discount. Using your TFI Leap Card is easy. Simply buy your card, Top-Up with Travel Credit or a period ticket and away you go!
Leap Top-Up is a free App for NFC enabled Android phones. It allows you to instantly Top-Up your TFI Leap Card, check your balance and buy tickets! Once downloaded, simply hold your TFI Leap Card to the back of your NFC-enabled Android smartphone to instantly check your balance, collect a pre-paid ticket, or top-up your TFI Leap Card – anytime, anywhere.
3. Taxi Information
The National Transport Authority is responsible for the licensing and regulation of small public service vehicles (SPSVs) in Ireland. This refers collectively to taxis, wheelchair accessible taxis, hackneys, wheelchair accessible hackneys and limousines.
SPSVs are defined as vehicles capable of carrying for hire or reward a maximum of eight passengers in addition to the driver.
There are five basic categories of vehicle licence:
- Wheelchair accessible taxis
- Wheelchair accessible hackneys
A Taxi Fare Estimator Tool is now available, visit http://transportforireland.ie/taxi/fare-estimator/
Taxi Driver Check
Our latest app allows you to check your taxi’s details.
This App from the National Transport Authority has been developed to help taxi users verify that the vehicle they are about to hire has been registered correctly and that the driver has the appropriate permissions to take the hire.
Customers can search for the vehicle or driver details by using the vehicle registration number, licence information displayed or by scanning appropriate bar codes.
If the information returned is incorrect, users can submit a Report to the National Transport Authority. There is also the facility for people to email a friend with relevant details about the car and the driver they have hired. http://transportforireland.ie/taxi/taxi-driver-check/
4. National Journey Planner
The TFI National Journey Planner is a door-to-door journey planner that provides service information, directions, and time estimates for taking a journey on all licenced public transport providers across Ireland.
You can use the TFI Journey Planner online here or download the TFI Journey Planner App free from the Apple App store for iPhone and iPad, Google Play store for Android devices and Windows Store for Windows devices.
It provides plans for trains, buses, trams, ferry, and taxi services and combines them into easy to read journey plans. The app acts like a door-to-door route planner and has information about scheduled departures and trips near your current location, and from any specified point. Your plans can be for now or any time in the future.
To plan your journey select the ‘trips’ option in the menu, type in your departure point and where you would like to travel to. The app will then show you a number of options varying from walking, bus, Luas and so on. Select the option that best suits you and the app will display your route; along with (where possible) how much the trip will cost you in cash or the TFI Leap Card fare.
TFI Journey Planner App features:
- Find departure times in your area, where you need them.
- Plan a whole journey using our Trips feature, including Bus, Luas, Irish Rail and ferry times.
- Saves previous trips for your convenience.
- Zoom in using maps to find the transport stops by area and see timetable information for those services.
- Get the latest transport disruption notices, and ensure you take the best routes.