ICL: London Borough of Lewisham unveils 'TellyTalk' in local Sainsbury's Savacentre
-- ICL Video-Conferencing kiosks to provide greater access to public services The London Borough of Lewisham and ICL today announced the installation of a video-conferencing kiosk in Lewisham Sainsbury's Savacentre, to allow local residents to enquire about a range of public services, such as council tax or housing benefit without having to visit the town hall. The initiative, named 'TellyTalk', is part of a European-funded project designed to use the latest information technology and communications to support local communities. Lewisham is the first local authority in the country to use video conferencing technology -- provided by ICL - to give council information to residents and follows the recent announcement by the Government of its intent to provide one quarter of all local government services on-line by 2002. Designed particularly for the elderly and deaf, the kiosks developed by ICL will provide residents with an easy-to-use, face-to-face communication link with council staff at the touch of a button. Users of the TellyTalk kiosks can obtain general information on the borough's housing and benefits service using a touch screen. If they require specific advice, they can press a button to video-link to an adviser. Once an interview has started, all the technology is controlled remotely by the interviewer back at the Town Hall. Lesley Burr, head of benefits, London Borough of Lewisham, said: "We expect at least 40 per cent of our users to be aged 60 and upwards. Therefore, we have specifically designed these kiosks with the elderly in mind. Also, older people are not so mobile and Lewisham wanted to provide the elderly and handicapped with an easy means of communication with the local revenues and benefits office." She added: "TellyTalk encapsulates remotely the process of the council office visit -- the face to face interview, the completion of forms and the exchange of documentation." Derek Sayers, managing director of ICL's Electronic Business Services division, said: "ICL is pioneering the use of kiosks as a means of providing local government information to the public - utilising technology to enrich the life of the local community." Burr continued: "TellyTalk makes business sense. The kiosks enable Lewisham to maintain experts at a central headquarters, but make them available to our citizens throughout the borough. We gain the added advantage of having a complete audit trail of correspondence and information which can be captured using the IT resources of the kiosk." Notes to Editors: ICL is a leading supplier of IT systems and services. Operating in over 70 countries and employing over 19,000 people, the Group's revenues for 1997 were GBP 2,477.1 million generating a pre-tax profit of GBP 30.0 million. The company implements IT systems for major projects and provides innovative services to a range of industries covering amongst others, retail, finance, travel, telecoms and utilities together with education, local and central government sectors. Its services include outsourcing, helpdesks, network services, inter/intranets, electronic commerce, interactive kiosks, smart card systems, digital cities and web sites. ICL plans to relist on the stock market in 2000. Relevant websites: http://www.icl.com About TellyTalk: The customer unit of TellyTalk is contained in a specially adapted, private room. It comprises a conference monitor for video only, viewing camera, microphone, information system with data screen, printer and document scanner -- all built into one unit. The video screen is separated from the data screen to reassure people who may not be used to computers, facilitate signing and allow frame transmission at a faster rate that a normal PC. The project involves the Lewisham Revenues and Benefits Department and its technology partners; ICL, for its kiosk expertise; Oracle, to help integrate database forms for the system; and the Technology Store, for its video-conferencing and application integration experience.
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