Digital boards nearly ready to be switched on

Digital information boards which have been out of use since Christmas are expected to be switched on again later this month.

Monday, 16th July 2018, 9:00 am
A digital information board in Marygate in Berwick.

The boards had been displaying out-of-date information for several months until they were finally switched off last month.

The internet device that provides data to the digital information boards on Marygate and the entrance to the Castlegate car park was hacked into and used to access the web – leaving Berwick Town Council with a bill of £2,500, which it refused to pay.

Town clerk Gareth Davies, speaking at a meeting of Berwick Regeneration Commission, said: “I have signed off the final draft of the technical specification this morning (Monday) so they will be safe from hacking in future. The previous specification wasn’t safe from hacking.

“We expect they’ll be available for use within the next two weeks provided the supplier can provide the necessary Virtual Private Network in that timescale. We think they will.”

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The additional technical solution is costing the town council an extra £1,000 a year.

Mr Davies continued: “After that, we will do another piece of work to find out if anyone actually notices what is on them because while there have been lots of demands to use them, there is no empirical evidence that they actually have any impact whatsoever. We need to get some user feedback and see if anyone acts on information they provide.”

The boards were purchased by Berwick Deserves Better (BDB) for £30,000 with Portas funds.

Jennifer McLean, a member of BDB, said the boards were very popular with community groups and charities wanting to promote events.

“The tourist information officer has told me there have been over 100 events missed and over 50 waiting to put things on the board so they are well used,” she said.

The boards will also be used to alert drivers of disruption during the Premier Inn build on Sandgate.