Helping Britain's Tellyaddicts to Get Wired Up!



The TV revolution being pioneered by the BBC consortium through Freeview is leading many Councils, housing, educationalists, healthcare and RSL groups to consider their digital and wired communities' strategies and options. A number of government departments are actively considering the launch of new DTV channels. The key challenge is to implement interactivity from the TV set so helping to cross the digital divide.

Numerous projects are being planned all over the country to link up communities using a new Freeview/DTV and web/email interactive set top box called an i-player® from Netgem. This is the first combined TV and web based access platform in the UK and allows internet and email access from your armchair. It even contains a broadband port for faster communications.

Barony Consulting has agreed to partner with Netgem, makers of the unique i-player®, to improve project knowledge and capacity, undertake scoping and feasibility studies and secure government discounts for clients.

Netgem i-players® are being used and considered for projects in London, Somerset, the Midlands, Cumbria, Scotland and the North West. They range from New Deal, DTV , e-access, ALMO and RSL initiatives which are designed to cross the digital divide. Their challenge is to improve inclusion by bringing e-access to groups such as the elderly who may feel excluded from the computer revolution.

The i-player® comes complete with a preset hyperlink to the No10 web site. The e-Envoy recently asked the civil service to consider DTV access projects as a key channel for delivery of information.

With Broadband capability, installing i-players is a quick way for Councils who wish to accelerate Broadband connectivity in their area. Therefore implementing small schemes will promote local exchanges further up BT's Broadband installation list.

Interactive broadcasters are now starting to change the format of TV programmes and the top show 'Millionaire' has already changed to become more interactive. Imagine watching TV, seeing a hyperlink on the screen and clicking it to gain access and send an email. How could your organisation and clients use this service? Would this increase citizen participation?

Keith Armour, Netgem UK's MD said, " Since the launch of Freeview, we have been establishing retail channels for the i-player®. However, this relationship with Barony Consulting provides a platform for public sector users to build competencies in this new form of information delivery."

Doug Forbes, Barony Consulting's Director said " We are pleased at the response across the country to Netgem's i-player® and see it as an important tool to enable the majority of Britain's homes to have internet access by 2005. In addition, we are delighted by the support shown at the highest levels for the i-player® and the commitment given to the UK market by Netgem"

Many of the previous attempts to achieve Wired Up Communities have been a bridge too far by asking the computer illiterate to drive computers. By simplifying and bringing internet access directly to the living room through the TV, we are convinced that this method will reach areas and users that others have failed to reach. When it is successful, Britain's Tellyaddicts can email No10 directly through their TVs!