Smooth Sailing with iPad

A harbour authority goes paperless and gets mobile with iPad.

“iPad is such a stable platform. I give presentations to government, the chamber of commerce, residents, the sailing club – it never lets me down.”
Brian Sheridan, Harbour Master, Port of Galway

port of galway holding iPad

It’s one of two types of days for Captain Brian Sheridan. As both Harbour Master and Deputy Chief Executive at Port of Galway, his time is often split between delivering presentations and walking the docks in his high-visibility, weatherproof gear. Today is a suit and tie day.

Port of Galway is a port authority responsible for the safety and success of Galway city’s maritime operations. “A port is a piece of infrastructure that facilitates the movement of goods and people, just like a road or railway,” Brian explains. Brian’s role as Harbour Master makes him the port’s superintendent, responsible for enforcing port regulations concerning navigation safety and harbour security, as well as the correct running of port facilities for cargo, passenger ships and recreation.

Brian’s tool of trade is his iPad Air, protected from the elements by an iPad Air Smart Case – as recommended by Compu b. Brian, the Chief Executive Officer and Directors all have iPads with cases, and an Apple TV, serving as virtual libraries, mobile communication tools, presentation aids and port activity logs. Only now, instead of needing an armful of documents, all they need is iPad.

Port of Galway approached Compu b looking for a way to modernise their business processes. “Cutting out paper was our top priority,” Brian says. An organisation that necessitates comprehensive lists of vessel contents, as well as detailed legislative documents, cumbersome paperwork was costing them time, space and workplace efficiency. Once they moved to iPad, everything changed. “It made work easier, because you can get through so much more. It’s easy, it’s intuitive – it just works.”

Inspiration from the past, innovation for the future

The city of Galway and its port share a rich history of maritime trade, a fact that Port of Galway strives to preserve. “Galway has been a port city for hundreds of years, so we have a responsibility to its financial and social development. Our primary goal is to continue to drive the local economy,” Brian states. Historically, maritime cities were synonymous with merchant trade, which led to employment. Brian and his team work hard to pursue modern opportunities, like the Volvo Ocean Race – a round-the-world sailing competition whose 2009 Galway stopover was such a hit that it returned in 2012 for the finale. “Volvo declared it the most successful stopover in its entire history. Galway is the smallest port the race had ever been to, and the other ports had bigger budgets and better facilities, but we still showed them how it was done.” When the Volvo Ocean Race returned in 2012, the event generated over 500,000 visitors and €60.5 million in tourism revenue for Galway.

Port of Galway values the enduring bond between the people of Galway and their port city. “It’s all about people and passion.” Brian says. “And we bring that to work every day. We have a very small team, about 10 people, but we punch above our weight all the time. That’s passion.” Continuing to secure commercial options for Galway is their goal. “We live on an island, where the majority of things must come by sea. If there’s very little activity then ships don’t come to port, so ports are a great barometer of economic activity for the region; for example, petroleum fuel for construction.” Galway Harbour Enterprise Park currently employs 500 people, and with a redevelopment of Galway’s tidal port in the works, the city should gain another 800 jobs. Port of Galway are innovating to increase their scope, investigating wave and wind energy, marine samples, and oil and gas exploration.

Switching to Apple technology was another innovation, making the transition between physical and digital workflows a snap. “The experience with iPad has been magic. The operability and connectivity between iOS devices is fantastic, as most of us here have iPhones – so now we can work across both. And of course, I just like the devices… They’re so smart and clever!” Brian laughs.

Port of Galway’s new cloud-based processes also mean that they can utilise Apple’s ecosystem with apps like Pages, Numbers and Keynote. For Brian, it’s all about reliability. “I see it all the time in high-end conferences – when technology fails, it throws you off your game. Keynote for my iPad has never let me down.” In his role as Harbour Master, Brian also has entire folders dedicated to his favourite app categories. “Weather, tides, general marine… There’s always an app to help you.” His top App Store recommendations? MarineTraffic Ships & Wind for tracking ship locations and movement, Navionics for marine charts and plotting, iTides for tide predictions, iGrib for weather forecasts, and Facebook and Twitter for sharing updates with the local community.

“Compu b’s staff were very knowledgeable and gave me great ideas for issues I’d been trying to fix, like moving from a display adapter to an Apple TV in the boardroom.”
Brian Sheridan, Harbour Master, Port of Galway

Compu b’s complete solution

Brian knew there had to be a way to modernise the paper-laden processes impeding office output at Port of Galway. “I remember seeing Compu b and thought, ‘Apple!’, and went straight in… Our initial conversation was driven mainly by a desire to minimise paperwork,” Brian recalls. Between cruise liners, freight ships and leisure crafts, logging the port’s activities was administration-heavy. The proposed new development also meant detailed government and council reports abounded. “We needed a solution that was simple and convenient, with a focus on mobility and security.” Compu b’s answer was iPad.

James, the Assistant Manager at Compu b’s Galway store, asked Brian if he’d seen the new iPad Air. The latest addition to the iPad family, iPad Air’s light and powerful mobile architecture, combined with iOS’ inherent stability and security, made it the perfect solution for Port of Galway. James also recommended iPad Air Smart Cases – one in each colour for all six Board Members – to ensure their devices were fully protected outdoors, as well as an Apple TV for the Board to AirPlay their Keynote presentations without needing cables or adapters. James and the Compu b team then remained on hand to provide ongoing advice and support.

Port of Galway’s digital transformation has been in place for over a year now, and they’re stunned with the results. All communications take place via email, leading to a sharp drop in printing overheads. Meetings are conducted using apps like Keynote for iOS, and Board Members have digital documents available to them at all times – facilitating smoother, more effective discussions. Encrypted, password-protected data means sensitive documents are always safe and secure. And Brian’s own productivity as Harbour Master has soared alongside the mobility requirements of his role. “Shipping is a 24-hour gig. On Christmas Day, ships come and go – people are always astounded by this… Now, I can track ship movements and weather forecasts from anywhere. It’s brilliant!” All in all, Port of Galway couldn’t be happier with Compu b’s integrated solution. “How would I rate our Compu b experience? 100%.”

Compu b’s trusted ability to build real customer relationships was fundamental in securing and continuing to serve Port of Galway as a valued business customer. Our friendly staff are always ready to help, whether it’s products, services, training or support; or just a clever tip on how to make the most of iPad. We’re not just Apple experts – we’re your Apple experts. Visit our Galway team, Finalists in the 2014 Retail Excellence Ireland Awards, and see what makes us Ireland’s leading Apple Premium Reseller today.

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