Introduction to ICT
Short for Information and Communications Technology, it is the study or business of developing and using technology to process information and aid communications.
(eg: voice conversation, email, Processing Business data via computer applications, etc).
Recent years have seen a complete revolution in how information is gathered, archived and used in both business and government around the world. Throughout much of the world, the workplace has been transformed from one based on paper documents, fraught with errors and delays, to one based on information technology (IT).
However, apart from explaining an acronym, there is not a universally accepted definition of ICT? Why? Because the concepts, methods and applications involved in ICT are constantly evolving on an almost daily basis. It’s difficult to keep up with the changes – they happen so fast.
Let’s focus on the three words behind ICT:
A good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital technology that already exist to help individuals, business and organizations use information.
ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots.
So ICT is concerned with the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmit or receipt of digital data. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work each other.
Discuss: Why IT is so important to modern word
In business, ICT is often categorised in o two broad types of product:-
The traditional computer based technologies (things you can typically do on a personal computer or using computers at home or at work); and
The more recent, and fast growing range of digital communication technologies ( which allow people and organizations to communicate and share information digitally )
Traditional Computer Based Technologies
These types of ICT include:
Standard Office Applications – Main Examples
E.g. Microsoft Word: Write letters, reports etc
E.g. Microsoft Excel; Analise financial information; calculations; create forecasting models etc
E.g. Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Access; Managing data in many forms, from basic lists (e.g. customer contacts through to complex material (e.g. catalog))
E.g. Microsoft Power Point; make presentations, either directly using a computer screen or data projector. Publish in digital format via email or over the Internet.
E.g. Adobe In-design, Quark Express, Microsoft Publisher; produce newsletters, magazines and other complex documents.
E.g Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator; Macromedia Freehand and Fireworks; create and edit images such as logos, drawings or pictures for use in DTP, web sites or other publications
Specialist Applications – Examples (there are many!)
E.g Sage, Oracle; Manage an organization;s accounts including revenues/sales, purchases, bank accounts etc. A wide range of system is available ranging from basic packages suitable for small business through to sophisticated ones aimed at multinational companies.
Computer Aided Design
Computer Aided Design (CAD) is the use of computers to assist the design process. Specialized CAD programs exist for many types of design: architectural, engineering, electronics, roadways.
Customer Relations Management (CRM)
Software that allows business to better understand their customer by collecting and analyzing data on them such as their product preferences, buying habits etc. Often linked to software application that run call centers and loyalty cards for example.
Traditional Computer Based Technologies
The C part of ICT refers to the communication of data by electronic means, usually over some distance. This is often achieved via networks of sending and receiving equipment, wires and satellite links.
The technologies involved in communication tend to be complex. You certainly don’t need to understand them for your ICT course. However, there are aspects of digital communications that you needs to be aware of. These relate primarily to the types of network and the ways of connecting to the Internet. Let’s look at these two briefly.
Usually referred to as local area network (LAN), this involves linking a number of hardware items (input and output devices plus computer processing) together within an office or building.
The aim of LAN is to be able to share hardware facilities such as printers or scanners, software applications and data. This type of network is invaluable in the office environment where colleagues need to have access to common data or programs.
Often you need to communicate with someone outside your internal network, in this case you will need to be part of a Wide Area Network (WAN). The Internet is the ultimate WAN- it is a vast network of networks.
ICT in a Broader Context
This will almost certainly cover the above examples of ICT in action, perhaps focusing on the use of key applications as spreadsheets, database, presentation, graphics and web design software.
It will also consider the following important topics that deal with the way ICT is used and managed in an organization:
The nature of information (the “I” in ICT)
This covers topics such as the meaning and value of information; how information is controlled; the limitations of ICT; legal considerations.
Management of information
this covers how data is captured, verified and stored for effective use; the manipulation, processing and distribution of information; keeping information secure; designing networks to share information
Information systems strategy
This considers how ICT can be used within a business or organization as part of achieving goals and objectives
As you can see, ICT is a broad and fast-changing subject.