Time on fixed lines halved in five years, says Ofcom

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Young people looking at their phoneCopyright of the image
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Many young people interviewed did not understand that the area codes had a geographical meaning

A new study by Ofcom suggests that, even if the use of fixed lines continues to decline, phone numbers may soon be recorded in history. Between 2012 and 2017, the time spent on landline calls dropped from 103 billion to 54 billion minutes. Over the same period, mobile calls have increased The growth of messaging services such as WhatsApp, and the convention codes composition can it completely disappear? As part of its research, Ofcom surveyed a representative sample of consumers, including 14 focus groups. It has a generation change, between youth who preferred to use text messaging services and older people who preferred talk on the phone. "Calling someone is a little intimidating," said the organization's 18-year-old young man. "It's a lot easier and faster for my WhatsApp friends.If I have to call a company, I'll always try to use Internet chat if it's available." A separation was also found in the area code approach. In short: young people did not feel too attached to them and many did not realize that they had a geographical meaning. These codes corresponded originally to the first two letters of a place. Aberdeen, for example, was AB, which equates to 22 on the keyboard. The current code for Aberdeen is 01224. Older people, on the other hand, have found the area codes helpful and reassuring when making calls. "It's helpful to know where things are," said a 67-year-old man from Wrexham. What does it say about the new way we communicate? "We have witnessed a shift in people, abandoning the idea that communication is place-based, for the benefit of something more personal," BBC's Dr. Bernie Hogan told the BBC. Oxford Internet Institute.

Location and time

Instead of sharing phones in special places, nailed to the wall or placed on a desk, we are used to having our communication center on our body, always at hand for messages, images and calls. Dr. Hogan stated that this does not necessarily mean that the landline phone will disappear completely. In fact, in the era of smartphones, it can find a renewed sense. "The fixed line will not have a resurgence, but what it represents could be: being available at a certain place and time." As anyone who has been confronted with e-mails or late-night calls can tell you, the limits of communication have become loose. instead of memorizing different numbers for the office or home, many people now use the same phone to make calls throughout the day. But how does this place appear with the different roles we occupy from morning to midnight? "One person, that's several people," said Professor John Zimmerman, of the Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute. "Dad, son, employee, member, etc. It's often more important for our devices to know who we are when we choose to allow, reject, or redirect a potential connection." Destroys bulky plastic handsets connected to specific parts, what communication lines should we reach when? Are we a manager in our child's room or a mother at a board meeting? For many, these roles are increasingly being managed by a set of social media accounts, from your WhatsApp family group to your LinkedIn professional account. Unlike an open public network such as a phone number system, these belong to private owners; controlled by large technology companies. "We are witnessing a change in the corporatization of our communication channels," warned Dr. Hogan. "This is a concern.There should be political or legal means allowing interoperable communication between business networks." Detached names and private platforms, a series of numbers has something simple; an understandable numeric address, identifying a communication line. From IP addresses of web pages to GPS coordinates, the numbers are hidden beneath the surface of our screens, but they are vast and complex, impossible to memorize or to give an impression of ownership. So what will happen? A hipster return of fixed lines? A resurgence of area codes? Probably not, but as a generation grows up with smartphones in its pockets, new methods will have to capture what this 67-year-old man from Wrexham told Ofcom: "It's helpful to know where things are. .