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World's 1st free public Internet phone - Scotland

By [email protected] - 27th September 2006 - 15:32

The Robert Gordon University's (RGU) state-of-the-art sports centre in Garthdeewill be the venue for a world first on Thursday 28 September, as free globalinternet calls are made from its high-tech iKiosk.
The iKiosk situated in RGU: SPORT is one of a network of touch-screen information points around Aberdeen developed by the City Council offering free email, videomail, internet access and a wealth of information on council and local services.Software embedded in the iKiosks has been developed to allow students, citizens and visitors to Aberdeen to make free internet calls from any of the iKiosks to others with compatible Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)software.RGU: SPORT will trial the facility, and the results will then be evaluated by all other iKiosk partners, including: NHS Grampian, VisitScotland, Grampian Police and Traveline Scotland.RGU's Director of Sport, Filippo Antoniazzi expressed his delight at RGU:SPORT's involvement in the pioneering project: "RGU has long held a reputation as a dynamic and progressive university which consistently responds to the demands of the modern-day world, whether in terms of the highly regarded,industry-focused courses we offer, or our ambitious estates plan, which includedthe £11 million sports centre."The iKiosk at RGU: SPORT is yet another facet of our forward-looking mindset.It has undoubtedly enhanced the customer-orientated service we provide at RGU:SPORT, and the new Internet Call facility is another demonstration of that commitment to customer service."At the launch, internet calls will be made both within the UK and across the globe. Aberdeen City Councillor for Garthdee, Mr Scott Cassie will place an internet call for transport information through the RGU: SPORT iKiosk to the Traveline Scotland call centre in Airdrie.Councillor Cassie commented, "The iKiosks along with the newly opened access point at Mastrick Housing Office, the telephone contact centre at Kittybrewster and the Council's website are all part of the Access Aberdeen Programme developed by Aberdeen City Council to provide a range of 'access' options tocitizens, workers and visitors for information about Council and partner services."The new internet call facility on the iKiosks demonstrates the council's commitment to reducing digital division between those who have access to modern technology and those who do not. During August, 81,000 'touches' were made on the iKiosks. This puts us on track for a million touches in a twelve month period demonstrating "Access Aberdeen" Programme is dynamic, flexible, convenient and continues to deliver choice."Charles Breslin, Managing Director of beCogent call centre operators for Traveline Scotland, added: "We are delighted to be working with Aberdeen City Council, RGU and Traveline on this project as it further enhances the servicedelivery for Traveline`s customers in a truly innovative way."At the launch Phil Mills-Bishop, e-Government Projects Manager, Aberdeen City Council, will call Paul Traynor, a student studying in China, demonstrating the facility's usefulness on a global scale to both residents and visitors.Phil Mills Bishop explains the technology behind this latest innovation:"Internet or web calls use the internet like a telephone. The VOIP technology relies on software like Skype being installed either on a single PC or a network and a Skype address, much like an email address, being allocated. An iKiosk customer can then initiate a call while viewing content for further information,or request an emergency service. It could also be used by foreign students, workers or visitors to the city to phone home."In the near future it will be commonplace to have a single network that allows both content information and voice to pass over it producing significant cost savings to the network owners, operators and ultimately customers".

Author: Phil Mills-Bishop

Bio.: Aberdeen City Council St Nicholas House.

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