Sunday, 7 October 2012

Real Time Information

Real-Time Information
Real-time data denotes information that is delivered immediately after collection. There is no delay in the timeliness of the information provided. Real-time data is often used for navigation or tracking. Examples of Real-Time Information are: weather forecasts; traffic updates; news feeds; booking information; airline information; rail information; route planners; SAT NAVS; bus tracking and parcel tracking. All of these incorporate the key aspects of Real-Time Information as they deliver the information straight away after it has been given to them. If it wasn’t for these, then it would be much harder to know what was happening in the world, which therefore could leave many people frustrated; especially if trying to find about traffic delays or airplane times etc. From my own personal experiences, Real-Time Information has been very useful, especially from the news feed front, as I like to know what is happening around the world- and with this it has made my life a lot easier.
News updates 
There are many different forms of news updates which provide you with the facts you want instantly. News updates are a way of finding things out that you want to know at the click of a button.
The benefits of news updates
·         Provides instant information
·         It’s free
·         Updated regularly
The disadvantages of new updates
·         You need to have an internet connection which could cause problems in areas where signal is hard to find.
Rail information
In order to discover train times, just go to a website (e.g. the national rail website) and enter the desired information e.g. the station you are travelling from and the station you wish to get to, and the date and timing of the journey.
Lots of travel companies have put time tables of their service online in order to appeal to a broader market and in the hope of increasing the number of people who travel with public transport.
The benefits of Rail Information
·         They are available for anyone to use and at any time
·         Free (for those with internet access).
·         They don’t require any personal information for you to view the timetables – unless you choose to pay for a ticket online.
·         Relatively simple to use.
·         Information requires is provided quickly
·         Some site gives extra information on alternative routes that may be more convenient or cheaper for the user.
·         Most sites offer an estimation of the length of time the journey will take and of the time of arrival. Also ticket cost is displayed – this allows customers to plan ahead and make a more informed decision about their travels.
The disadvantages of Rail Information
·         Computer-illiterate people may find it more confusing to look up train, or other transport, timetables online than simply checking at the train station or asking someone who works at that station.
·         Problems that may inflict on the journey including delays or strikes are not usually displayed by train timetable websites – this could cause difficulties for people relying solely on public transport.
My uses of Train timetablesAs someone who rarely travels by train and therefore finds reading the timetables at the stations quite confusing, I find using an online timetable far more easy and useful. Using online timetables has allowed me to check the timings online, which allows me to avoid having to walk down to the station and then have to wait for ages for the next train to arrive. It also allows me to get some idea of how much it would cost – this means I can calculate if maybe an alternative mode of transport may work out cheaper. I have found online train timetables to be fairly reliable and will continue to use them whenever I take a train journey.

Weather updates/ webcams
Weather Forecasts                                                      
Similar to Weather forecasts on the TV or newspapers, forecasting sites present people with the opportunity to an estimation of how the weather will be in the future – with some sites, e.g. BBC Weather offering the forecast of the weather of up to 5 days ahead. On the BBC website, all the user needs to alter is the location they want. As well as the 5 day forecast, which gives a brief overview of the basic information for the weather over the next 5 days, you can also look at a 24 hour forecast which gives more details – including hourly estimates.
The benefits of Weather Forecasts
·         Weather forecasts are available to anyone with internet, at any time.
·         Free.
·         Accessible to people who do not have a TV – unlike the Television forecast.
No personal information is required to discover the forecast – so users do not have to feel as though their privacy is being breached.
·         All the forecasting information provided is relevant to the user as they select exactly which area they would like to know the weather for.
·         5 day forecasts allow people to prepare far in advance for any extremes of weather.
]·         Most weather forecast are regularly updated – so the information is relevant and reliable.
The disadvantages of Weather Forecasts
·         Computer-illiterate people may not know how to get the most out of the site.
·         The information provided may be inaccurate as times – especially is updated do not happen as regularly as possible – because no one can predict the weather certainly.
My uses of Weather forecast – BBC Weather
I use BBC Weather for the weather forecast quite often – especially when I am going on a day out, particularly in the summer holidays as the English summer weather is not very consistent. Due to the fact that I spend more time on a computer or laptop than watching TV, I find it very beneficial to have access to the forecast online rather than just on the news. Online weather forecasting is convenient for me, and I take full advantage of it as I find it easy to use and it makes me feel somewhat prepared when making future plans.

Route Planner
What with people travelling increasingly, there is a demand for a modern map-alternative. This can be found in the form of a route planner site. Simply enter the relevant details e.g. where you’ll start your journey and your final destination, then route planners provide you with not only directions – usually in the form of an illustration on a map along with instructions – and also provides time estimation for the journey.

The benefits of Route Planners
·         Details are given to the exact location – needing just the postal code.
·         Route planners can prevent people from getting lost on their travels.
]·         Doesn't require any personal information to help you.
·         Many sites have options to avoid certain things e.g. speed cameras.
·         Some routes provided with petrol stations emphasised – this can prevent break downs and allow people to plan when exactly they may want to stop for petrol, to suite their need.
·         Using a route planner is quicker and easier than using a map.
The disadvantages of Route Planners
·         Route from websites are oblivious to traffic jam, so could lead you straight into one unnecessarily.
·         If the user takes a wrong turn, there is no way of discovering location or how to get back on route as the map may not show much more than the exact course.
·         If the user doesn't know the postal code of the destination they are trying to find a route to, they may not be able to process a route plan.
·         The plan given may not be up to date as roads are changing all the time.
My uses of Route planners
SAT NAV is probably more preferable to Route planners nowadays. I find route planners (the one on the Green Flag website in particular) very useful when trying to work out the way to an unfamiliar destination.

Short for satellite navigation, SAT NAV systems can be bought attached to a car, as a separate machine to be attached to a car or can be found as an application on a mobile – to use you simply type in the destination (comparable to a route planner) then receive a step by step guide both visually and audibly.
The benefits of SAT NAV’s
·         SAT NAV systems give a moving picture of the user’s location and the neighbouring roads so they can relate exactly to their surroundings – even if the setting is new to them.
·         The audio description means drivers can concentrate on driving rather than having to repeatedly check the screen, or a map.
The audio directions allow time for the driver to prepare for the next direction e.g. ‘in 20 metres take a left turn’.
·         SAT NAV’s are easy and quick to use.
·         The route is determined and provided instantly; meaning less preparation is needed by the user – meaning less stress.
·         Using a SAT NAV saves on paper as there is no need to print out directions or a route on a map, on paper.

 The disadvantages of SAT NAV’s
·         SAT NAV’s can be expensive.
·         The voice of the audio description is sometimes unclear and difficult to understand – and can be quite annoying.
·         Some people may not understand how to use it as it might not be simple enough for people who aren’t used to working with technology.
·         Routes provided by SAT NAV’s don’t take into account traffic jams.

My uses of SAT NAV
My parents own a SAT NAV both for the car, and on their smartphones– which is very useful as it means we can use it even when just walking somewhere, but it doesn’t have the audio description and, what with the screen being so small, the directions are sometimes a little unclear. However the SAT NAV for the car gives out clear instructions and provides instant information on things such as: speed limits and speed cameras.

Parcel Tracking
When ordering an item, many sites provide a special code that allows you to ‘track’ your order as it travels to you. The intention of this service is to simulate the feel of control that is lost when ordering online in comparison to picking it up in person.
The benefits of Parcel Tracking
·         Having the knowledge of which stage your order is at gives the customer a feeling of reassurance.
·         If the order has still not arrived after a few more days than expected, they can look online and discover where it is and possibly identify any problems in the process of delivery
·         If parcel is lost, it is easier to discover where it may be if it is being tracked.
The disadvantages of Parcel Tracking
·         There is an illusion of accuracy is given when someone is tracking a parcel as there may still be a problem in the delivery.
My uses of Parcel Tracking
I tend to do a lot of online shopping so parcel tracking for me has been a very useful aspect. I like to know whereabouts my parcel is as if there are any problems in transaction, I know where roughly the problem happened.
Cinema Bookings 
For big cinemas such as Odeon, an online booking system is an effective way of being more convenient and accessible to more customers.  Customers can sign on, select a certain film and a certain viewing and book their tickets instantly. As soon as any booking is made, the information is then updated – so the same seat cannot be booked more than once. You receive your tickets from a machine at the cinema where you enter your payment card number and they are printed out.
The benefits of Online Cinema Bookings
·     There is no need to leave the house and arrive 10/15 minutes before the start of the film

·         When booking online there is the opportunity to pre-book tickets for films that have yet to be released
·         You can immediately see when a film showing is fully booked without having to arrive and then go home or rearrange your plans
·         Once your seat is booked, you have a guaranteed place as no one else can book the same seat
·    Some cinema sites have special ‘points’ offers for people who book online
·         The payment is straightforward and means you don’t have to take any money with you to the cinema, unless you’re buying refreshments
My uses of Online Cinema Booking
As I have recently got a debit card, I have never personally bought a ticket booked online. I have used my mum’s card to pay for tickets though so have had quite a lot of experience with online cinema booking – especially recently as our family have become members of Odeon’s ‘Premiere Club’ which enables us to collect points for every time we buys tickets. I have found booking online really beneficial as it is quick and easy and it reassures me that, even if I’m late, I will still have a seat.
Online Flight Bookings
You can book tickets for flights online either through specific airlines or with an independent website that could provide lots of flights from a variety or airlines.

The benefits of Online Flight Booking
·         It can be cheaper than booking via high street travel agents as it ‘cuts out the middle man’
·         Booking online allows people to compare prices of different airlines quickly and easily
·         There is no need to leave the house
·         You can book tickets online at any time of the day or night

The disadvantages of Online Flight Booking
·         Unlike with travel agents, there is no one to ask for advice from
]·         Some people who find using computers may find booking a flight online confusing and difficult
·         If a booking site is not valid there may be privacy concerns as you have to obviously give away a lot of personal details, including credit card details, online
·         Mistakes may be made in the booking process and they may not be able to be changed online but there could be the possibility of rectification if done with a travel agent
·         There are sometimes additional charges with booking flights online

My uses of Online Flight Booking
I don’t really get the opportunity to go on holiday abroad so I have never encountered having to book flight tickets online. However when I have gone on holiday it has been with my dad, and he was always the one to book the flights.

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