Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Access all areas

Access to information, or rather the immediacy of access to information, is something that is increasingly taken as a given these days.

While rural broadband remains an issue in some areas of the country, the government has allocated £530 million during the current spending review period to stimulate commercial investment to roll out high speed broadband in rural communities.

A commitment has also been made to invest up to £150 million to improve mobile coverage in the UK for consumers and businesses in areas where coverage is poor or non-existent.

All of this is very encouraging and poignant, bearing in mind the meteoric rise in the use of smartphones and tablets to access information from pretty much anywhere. We are already seeing a rise in the number of people accessing our website from tablets and smartphones. Our website covers everything from technical information in our Better Returns Programme section and market insight to the latest industry news and is well used. The latest figures are very telling – 30 per cent of visits to the site in October were via mobile devices, with the iPad and iPhone topping the list.

In October, the number of individual visitors to the site was up 28 per cent on September at 10,846, while the site was viewed 25,152 times – up 30 per cent. Similarly, page views increased by 32 per cent at 142,961 with markets and auction reports pages proving to be most popular.

Clearly, our website is providing valuable and useful information for visitors. The next step? Work to enhance the website is constant and there is ongoing debate about creating a smartphone app to complement it, but we remain to be convinced that it would be a cost-effective use of levy payers’ money. The overarching question is whether there is a single app idea that would be of most interest/use to the majority of levy payers, thus making it worth the investment. We want to ensure we offer the most useful tools possible to the industry and make sure livestock farmers can make the most of improvements in rural connectivity. So, if you do have any thoughts on apps or online tools that would be useful, contact us on admin@eblex.ahdb.org.uk.