As part of Green Transport Month, businesses from across the island got together to explore whether they could reduce travel across the island and to the mainland by using online meeting technologies. The training event was organised by Coralesce ltd and was supported by Community Action, Isle of Wight; Isle of Wight Council (Adult & Community Learning); Isle of Wight College and Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce. Coralesce is an island based technology company specialising in enabling education staff to use technologies and supporting enterprise and technology skills in business start-up and improvement. This one-day training event showed you how to use a variety of free and low cost technologies to run video conference meetings and webinars from your own laptop. Connectivity and having an effective infrastructure was identified as key to using online meeting technologies effectively. Speakers from both BT and Wightfibre highlighted that the Island is developing a better broadband infrastructure with average download speeds of 25 megabytes compared to 12 on the mainland. Relative costs were reviewed between free and subscription services which highlighted the range of choice and functionality on offer.

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One of the high points of the event was to showcase a live online meeting between Kevin Smith, Chief Executive of Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce and his US counterpart, Andrew Cripps, CEO and president of Isle of Wight County Chamber in Virginia. Andrew and Kevin discussed the economic profile of each area and the relative technical infrastructure in both locations. The afternoon provided practical training sessions on GoToMeeting; Adobe Connect) and Free services such as Skype, Facetime & Google Hangouts. All the trainers recognised that face to face meetings are more superior in meeting new clients but once a business relationship has been established there are real merits in using online meetings. In particular the key benefit to using online meetings technologies was that it helps to reduce the cost of travel in terms of time and ticket/fuel costs. The overall assessment was that there was a wealth of services available and for smaller businesses free services provided a good starting point. Over 90% rated the event as very extremely useful, well-planned and that the knowledge and skills will result in them taking further action to use technology to reduce travel. However it was noted that personalised skills training in the use of technology for business was identified as an area for further work across the island. eval

                                    Will you take it with you?

5 = Yes, definitely (41%)

4 =Yes, will explore (49%)

3= Maybe, Thinking about it(6%)

2=Probably Not (1%)

1= No, definitely not (3%)

Participant’s commented:

Given what we heard about infrastructure how to take forward”

“Could be usefully expanded”

 “Really useful”

“Practical sessions very helpful”

“Informative, supportive, lots of knowledge (practical knowledge) to take away”

“Very good day”

“Good conference- useful information”

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Christina Conroy
Director of Coralesce at Coralesce Ltd
Director of Coralesce Ltd, passionate about lifelong learning, #edtech, @techwomenuk and being by the sea. Christina is a Director and Partner in Coralesce ltd, a curriculum development agency that works with awarding organizations, educational providers and funding agencies to develop enterprising and innovative new learning journeys to inspire a 21st century workforce.