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The Advisory Committee for Scotland (ACS) discusses a wide range of questions each year as part of its regular advice to Ofcom.

When Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report (CMR) on Scotland is being compiled, we always comment on the findings before they become public. Now that the CMR for Scotland been published, it’s worth highlighting a few key issues.

TELEVISION PRODUCTION

Local issues brought into sharp focus
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Ofcom’s recently published Communications Market Report for 2013 contains a wealth of detail about the way our social structures and interactions are changing with the rapid advance of mobile technology.  Patterns of leisure that once would have taken years to shift have radically re-aligned in a year.

A corner has been turned
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I’m in India where I’m making a film about the slum children of Kolkata.

It strikes me how lucky I am. For these kids survival is all; access to clean water, nutritious food and shelter, everything we take for granted. They still use chalk and slate in infant classes, a far cry from even the most deprived areas of Britain.

Internet take-up highest among Indians in Britain
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I found Ofcom’s research on the ways in which families are watching more TV together very positive news.

Given the number of TVs in many households, no one would be excused for thinking that everyone must be watching their own TV.

Big screens, high-definition television might be helping to reinvent the living room as a place where the family comes together to share some common purpose. But as their research notes, things are not exactly the same as the 1950s with viewers armed with laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers. What are they doing?

Twitter engages and empowers viewers
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I am trying to help colleagues identify some of the most inspiring social innovations supported by the Internet and related digital technologies and hope Ofcom Advisory Committees and their communities can help me in this search.

Are there critical social challenges that are being addressed through digital innovations? It would be great to get suggestions from the Ofcom community, so please help identify the digital projects you see to be addressing major social challenges, from education to health and jobs.

What challenges are being addressed through digital innovations
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News on the latest findings of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Internet use underscores the continuing diffusion of the Internet.*

However, the findings also remind us of the difficulty of convincing a still sizeable proportion of non-users that the Internet could be of value to them. Apparently, 59 percent of those without Internet access at their home say they do not need to go online.** This phenomenon is what I have called the ‘digital choice’.***

EXPERIENCE TECHNOLOGY

One in five not online
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Every so often there are a spate of editorials on how much time is consumed by smartphones and other mobile devices.

Politicians are said to leave their phone at home when they go on holiday so they can think. Journalists fret about getting a message that distracts them from playing with their children.

Don’t be Distracted by Phobbing
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There has been considerable press coverage on the quality and competitiveness of broadband communication infrastructures in England and the UK as a whole.

See: The Register

ACE will ask for an up-date on this issue and ways in which regulation is tied into the issues being raised. We'd welcome input from those with constructive suggestions on these issues.

There has been considerable press coverage on the quality and competitiveness of broadband communication infrastructures in England and the UK as a whole
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Are you ever annoyed by call centre menus that are slow, complicated and often waste much of your time as you go through endless menus, sometimes with no option fitting your problem?

You might also find that more often than not, the menus make it almost impossible to speak with a live human being.

Of course, the idea of getting a menu of options so that your call can be better directed or get a programmed answer on the spot is a good one – in principle.

How the net is empowering consumers
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An upcoming conference on ‘Digital Scotland’ promises to ‘bring together the perspectives of the Scottish government, civic & local authorities, community leaders and key business enterprises to work towards the Government’s 2020 vision of having a world-class digital infrastructure'.

Smart cities, rural challenges, applications of the future, digital services and mobile technologies will all be discussed. The conference is a key activity in Scotland’s Digital Dialogue programme of events.

Smart cities and rural challenges