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Who Are We & Our Experience

  • Looking Local (formerly DigiTV) has been running since 2004, initially as part of the then ODPM's e-Government programme, now a service owned and managed by Kirklees Council on behalf of the UK local government (and partner) community.
    • Looking Local was a national e-Gov project and the only one that still continues, profitably, with a strong and growing patronage
    • For eight years Looking Local has delivered a range of local government services to the public on DiTV
    • Looking Local is an award winning service, with over 120 content partners
    • Looking Local is the sole supplier of local content to DirectGov
    • Looking Local is the only government backed DiTV solution - bar DirectGov - that continues successfully today
  • The technology offers the UK public sector an adaptable solution for a variety of needs/partners: housing, health, local government. Initially focused on the local government community, increasingly our work is with housing and health organisations trying to understand and reach their digitally excluded audiences and make service efficiencies
  • Looking Local has been involved with all the IPTV and DiTV initiatives in government over the past eight years as a technical integrator, strategic advisor or critical friend
  • Looking Local undertakes in depth research into the audience for the DiTV market, how they interact with the medium and how this has changed - and improved - over the years
  • Looking Local has won a number of leading contracts exploring the ability of DiTV and mobile to widen the reach of a number of key public services. Examples include:
    • Telecare and telehealth via TV - As part of the EU funded T-Seniority project as well as the Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) programme from the Technology Strategy Board
    • In exploring using new technologies in the provision and publication of positive activities for young people aged 13-19 as part of local government's remit under Section 507B of the Education Act 1996 - funded by the former DCSF
    • Credit Union information being made accessible to the DiTV audience in partnership with the Digital Inclusion Unit at DCLG DCSF
    • Integration of patient health records with Hampshire PCT
    • Extending the reach of Schools Admissions to digital interactive television in conjunction with Birmingham City Council and the former DCSF
    • Delivery of Informal Adult Learning opportunities via TV in conjunction with BECTA and School of Everything
    • Integration with local and national patient consultation services - Patient Opinion
    • National consultation work - extending its reach to TV & mobile for the Welsh Assembly Government
    • Further detail on major projects spanning back to 2006 can be found below
  • On a national level Looking Local works with a number of leading customer focused services making this valuable content/service accessible on DiTV and mobile phones, these include:
  • Members of the Looking Local team have been involved in the digital interactive TV landscape as part of commercial offerings since 1998 and participated in the early consultation stages of how government should deploy services on DiTV
  • Looking Local has been involved in consultation for leading government departments around their possible use of DiTV, IPTV and mobile in terms of public service delivery as well as innovative ways of harnessing TV and mobile for orgnisational gains
  • Over the years Looking Local has been approached and consulted by numerous foreign organisations working within or for their respective governments, hoping to replicate and/or understand the issues and benefits surrounding government content delivery on DiTV
  • Since 2006 Looking Local has been working with mobile technologies and we recognise the increasing importance of this channel for public service delivery.
    • Looking Local is accessible on all WAP1 and WAP2 mobile phones (rates for access vary according to provider and package)
    • Some partners deliver a mobile focused service, our technology easily allows this to happen to make services more mobile focused and easy to use
    • The Looking Local mobile service has been optimised for delivery on the iPhone and we are working on dedicated apps to allow users of iPhone and Android devices to submit local reports (graffiti, potholes etc) using the inbuilt camera and location awareness of these devices.
    • Looking Local is part of an I&DeA funded programme of work delivering the technology for a mobile solution specifically focused for the NEET (Not in Employment, Education of Training) audience, run by Kirklees Council

Industry contacts

  • We have strategic and partner relationships with all the major DiTV platforms for over eight years and have technically migrated our service across their technologies in line with upgrades and platform changes (e.g.: ntl:/Telewest>Virgin Media)
  • Members of our team are in communication/known by all government departments involved in the digital inclusion agenda
  • Looking Local has confirmed its support of YouView, the BBC-led venture that promises a combination of catch-up TV, free-TV, apps and widgets, and will seek to use the new platform at the earliest opportunity.
  • Members of the team have been vociferous in all major pan-government consultations into the deployment and use of DITV over the past eight years
  • Looking Local speaks on behalf of local government in DiTV circles and has contacts with all local government technical entrepreneurs in this field
  • Our work has been/is recognised by a variety of government ministers and departments in terms of providing a valid technology to help around issues of digital inclusion
  • We have a strong relationship with the full range of related third sector agencies including Help the Aged, Digital Outreach and Independent Age
  • Looking Local has strategic and content partnerships with NHS24 & NHS Choices

Current hardware

  • Integral to the development of DiTV and delivering digitally inclusive services on a variety of technologies/interfaces/ platforms, Looking Local ensures it keeps abreast of the wider technical landscape, but particularly researches, reviews and ensures access to all the latest developments in non-PC delivery; DiTV, mobile, consumer electronics, gaming stations and kiosk/touch screen solutions
  • We regularly review new set top boxes to understand their differing qualities and abilities to see how they might improve service delivery in a number of fields; primarily local government, housing and health
  • Looking Local was the first organisation to develop a focused offering on the Nintendo Wii in the government sphere. We have found that this has particular appeal to housing and local government organisations looking for cost effective and accessible ways for their tenants/residents to communicate with 24/7. We have also found that young people have engaged with the public sector more by using these games driven technologies

Internet

  • Looking Local is the first (and only) government service to design a specific interface for the Nintendo Wii to attract a new generation of users and widen access, whatever the platform
  • Looking Local is available on Facebook, offering access to all our customer services and also as a Facebook app for partners to embed their specific services into their Facebook presence
  • Most members of the Looking Local team have a background in the Internet, from operational, strategic, commercial and technical roles
    • Sites include: upmystreet.com, next.co.uk, orient-express.com, thomson.co.uk, lawyer.com habitat.co.uk, currys.co.uk
    • As well as 'behind the scenes' projects concentrating on asset management, e-marketing, e-brochures and MIS deployment
  • We run the Looking Local portal on digital interactive TV and mobile for Kirklees Council. As part of this work we manage www.lookinglocal.gov.uk and understand the regulations bounding .gov sites

Broadcast

  • Over the years Looking Local has worked with a number of TV companies in delivering content on a range of TV platforms and has close ties with a number of post production outfits specialising in the distribution of digital content
  • Looking Local has within it's team several former employees of BBC, with over 20 years of production and project management skills
  • Looking Local managed the broadcast arm of the NHS@60 event held at Wembley Stadium in 2008. Undertaking IPTV/TV consultancy to outline the options to the NHS prior to the high profile event as well as programme and relationship management in the run up and on the day

Creativity

  • We pride ourselves on finding creative, but realistic, solutions for specific service delivery projects. One example was as part of the T-Seniority telecare project;
    • Focusing on an older, less able and/or technically literate audience - residents of care homes - Looking Local helped deploy a solution on the Nintendo Wii following extensive user behaviour research. This solution ensured easy use of the services and delivered added benefits of the gaming which encouraged a level of physical activity as well as healthy competition. The Nintendo Wii worked with the groups approach to technology which was very much focused on a remote control and pointing at a screen, and was able to deliver more than traditional DiTV services could at that point in time
  • The Looking Local team has a range of creative talents from technical and UI design, to marketing creativity

Projects of Note (2006 onwards)

2006

  • Jobcentre Plus integration - making the Jobcentre Plus database available to jobseekers, many of whom do not have access to PCs or the skills to use them, for free via DiTV
  • Transport Direct integration - Giving national DiTV access to journey planning, traffic and travel news and other Transport Direct services
  • Citizens Advice Integration - Publishing a range of Citizen Advice services to help all people access their services nationally and giving local context

2007

  • Mobile - Looking Local realises the similarities of the design and technology behind TV and mobile, and lauches on mobile, now the mobile side of our work is equal to the TV side, and has vastly improved
  • EMIS GP Appointments - Integration with leading GP surgery software providers to allow patients to book/amend and cancel appointments via TV, 24 hours a day
  • E-Petitioning - Integrating with a local e-petitioning pilot to allow people to read and sign local petitions via TV

2008

  • EMIS Repeat Prescriptions - Extending our partnership to offer 1000s of patients access to their repeat medicine without needing to call/visit the surgery
  • Choice Based Letting (Abritas) - Integration with leading choice based lettings service to allow DiTV users to browse and bid of properties in line with government guidance
  • Real time Bus tracking & timetables ACIS (S. Yorks) & Kizoom (Centro/W. Midlands) - Integration of real time bus information and the ability to scrutinise local timetables
  • Community Legal Services Direct - Offering TV and mobile users the ability to find local legal services alongside high-quality information to help citizens deal with their legal problems
  • Newham Mobile - Design and deployment of a dedicated mobile service

2009

  • T-Seniority - Integrating telehealth and telecare options as part of a pilot service to understand the role of the TV in terms of the future of self healthcare both from a personal and organisational efficiency perspective
  • Virtex - Imaking Internet-like services available to older, possibly isolated patients and care home residents, e.g.: email, photos and calendars
  • Plings - Compiling and publishing youth activities as part of a DCSF funded scheme to widen access driven by a number of agendas
  • NHS Choices - As one of four syndication partners of this crucial health information and updates, Looking Local integrated with the NHS Choices database to make their news, health guides, A-Z and other services available nationwide on DiTV
  • Wii development - Looking Local was the first organisation to develop a focused offering on the Nintendo Wii in the government sphere

2010

  • NEET Mobile Solutions - Looking Local is focusing on customer segmentation and the NEET community to help reduce the issues they face and/or help organisations deliver their services to this critical group
  • Virtual Town Hall - Integration on behalf of North Lincs Council to allow their social media product to be accessible and used via DiTV and mobile
  • Family Information Directory - Integration with the DoE's England database of information on childcare and local services focused on young families and carers
  • Integration with Birmingham's Online Schools Admission service was the first real effort to make all admissions to primary and secondary schools electronic and reduce costs of bureaucracy. This is a pilot project which we hope to extend further in 2011
  • Starthere - Working with this 3rd sector focused outfit to deliver a coherent local support directory and information
  • Choice Based Lettings (Home Connections) - Following the success of CBL with other providers we extended the software outfits working in this realm to widen the reach of CBL on TV
  • Timebanking UK - Integration with the Timebanking UK database to allow time exchanges and access to local community events via DiTV
  • The Digital Inclusion Unit funded the integration with the credit union software provided by Progress Systems, in a pilot project running up in Hull & East Yorkshire, to allow people to manage their finances through the TV
  • Patient Opinion integration to allow patients to read and write opinion based content on local health services
  • Smartphone development - Looking Local''s expertise and capability of delivering on mobile phones extended in October 2010 to deliver services on the iPhone using their style and device capabilities.
  • Partnership with Community Channel - giving Sky viewers direct access from a broadcast channel to our interactive services via a constant onscreen red button. This partnership brings the Looking Local service to a wider number of TV viewers as well as closes the gap between the broadcast and interactive elements available on DiTV.
  • DisabledGo integration - Looking Local partners with DisabledGo to make their detailed access guides available to a larger number of people via TV and mobile phones
  • Race Online Partnership - Looking Local became a Race Online partner in November, as the team there acknowledge the need to use TV to deliver services to the very hard to reach as well as the need for government to keep up with technology as it develops.
  • Looking Local Usage Record Broken: Early December saw the busiest week ever for Looking Local, with usage breaking the 600,000 page impressions per week barrier for the first time in our history.
  • Dedicated iOS app launched allowing iPhone users direct access to local and national public service providers.

2011

  • Looking Local won the e-Government National Award for 'Local e-Government Excellence: Take Up & Usage Growth'
  • CLG Business Case on using Looking Local for CBL and housing services confirms value for money and savings
  • Android Report It app launched
  • NHS Scotland launch a national health service on Looking Local
  • NHS Sefton & Looking Local Honoured with Health Awards - Highly commended at the HSJ Awards and winners of the 'Best Use of Social Media' category at the eHealth Insider Awards
  • Do It Android App Launches - New volunteering app giving access to millions of volunteering opportunities
  • Virtex System Launched - Tablet solution delivering health and social care to older people
  • Facebook Launch - Looking Local launched all partner services on Facebook via a new app. The app can also be embedded in partners' sites to offer improved interactivity
  • Usage of Looking Local during 2011 broke all records, with over 1.83million sessions recorded over the year; a 36% increase on 2010. There was a similar increase in terms of pages viewed; page hits topped 31 million. The average session was 18 pages and around 50% of all usage is out of standard office hours.

2012

  • LetsHelpYou launches on interactive TV: Sky & Virgin Media - extending access to affordable rental properties
  • LetsHelpYou launches smartphone apps for Android and iOS
  • LB Brent becomes the first authority outside West Yorkshire to subscribe to LetsHelpYou and deploy it as a local solution
  • Freedom To Roam - an adaptable assisted living solution developed by Looking Local, funded by the Government Strategy Board - is launched
  • Freedom to Roam - our Android tablet telecare solution - undergoes evaluation with the University of Northumberland
  • Herts CC integrates with their online Free School Meals application service, following a marketing initiative in local schools uptake is higher that expected
  • My Landlord launches in the iTunes App Store, see it here
  • NHS 24 is runner up in 'Best Use of Mobile Technology in NHS Scotland' category at the Health Informatics 2012 Awards for their use of Looking Local
  • Looking Local is confirmed as a technology partner in the dallas (Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles At Scale) consortium in Scotland delivering the Living It Up solution
  • LetsHelpYou website introduces translation capability in over 65 languages and improved statistical analysis for partners
  • LetsHelpYou - Looking Local launches a new affordable property website specifically built to alleviate issues arising from the changes in Local Housing Allowance (LHA), funded by the DWP
  • Looking Local's Housing App My Landlord launches in Google Play. This tenant smartphone app with linked web services provides an integrated solution for Looking Local's housing partners. Read more here
  • Usage increase - Jan-March statistics show that usage of Looking Local increased 38% on the same three-month period in 2011
  • Annual usage for 2012 confirmed as: 30,164,423 hits as part of 1,611,705 sessions
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