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ICT - Information and Communications Technology

ICT - Information and Communications Technology

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is used in all spheres of life. It has changed the way everything functions, be it learning, solving problems, or working. The tools of ICT such as communications, networked computers, and media have become crucial for the efficient working of all professions. Today, it is almost impossible to imagine the functioning of organizations without these tools. ICT tools have changed the time and space of learning and working, which has been beneficial for the students as well as the working professionals.

ICT comprises of two parts:

  1. IT [Information technology]: It refers to the use of storing, processing, collecting data. All the different components of the computer, like hardware and software, come under this category.
  2. CT [Communication technology]: It refers to the use of technology for telecommunication, broadcasting media, audiovisual processing and transmitting information, and transmitting information through wired or wireless networks.

ICT as a whole is a combination of IT and CT, where we collect, store, process, and transmit data through wired or wireless methods.

What is ICT?

ICT, also known as Information and Communications Technology, is the infrastructure that facilitates the communication of people and organizations in the digital world. Generally, it includes applications, devices, systems, and networking components that enable modern computing.

ICT System Components

The components of ICT allow people to interact with each other in the digital world. A list of components of the ICT system is mentioned below. However, ICT is not limited to the list as it includes any application, system, or device that enables the digital interaction of organizations and people.

1. Communications Technology:

People in the present society have all shifted from old means of communication to new modes which are advanced, faster, cost-saving, and easier to use. Communication technology has made it is feasible for people to interact globally through various connections. Technology is advancing day by day and has a major role in giving a boost to the country's economy, as it is generating a lot of employment and making it easier for people to do things efficiently and in no time.

2. Data:

The word Data is derived from Latin, which means something given. Data is the plural word, and its singular form is Datum. At the initial stage, the data we provide to the computer is raw. Then, the computer processes it and converts it into information. This data can be present in the form of images, documents, audio clips, software programs or any other form. This data is processed with the help of a CPU and stored in the hard disk of the computer. Computers store the data in the form of binary numbers means in the form of 1 and 0. There are 5 types of data present:

  • Text Data: It contains all the alphabets from A-Z.
  • Number data: It contains numbers from 0-9.
  • Alphanumeric Data: It contains various symbols like @, #, $, %, &, *, and many more.
  • Image Data: It contains images in formats like JPEG, PNG, and JPG.
  • Audio-Video Data: It contains data in different formats like MP3, MP4, and HD.

3. Software:

Software is a set of programs or instructions which tell a computer how to work. The software executes tasks, which are specific in nature, through the set of instructions that operates them. Software is digital portions that run with the help of hardware. Software is of two types:

  • Application Software: These are downloaded by the user according to needs, such as games, antivirus, browsers, and many others.
  • System Software: These include operating software like Mac OS or Windows. System software runs without user intervention

4. Hardware:

It is divided into two types:

  • Internal Hardware: They are found inside the system unit, which includes the motherboard, CPU, RAM, ROM, graphics card, fan, sound card, expansion slot, and different types of drives.
  • External Hardware: It is the physical part of the computer like the monitor, keyboard, or mouse. External hardware components are input devices, output devices and storage devices; these are known as peripherals. It is further divided into -
    1. Input Devices: These are used to ender data in the computer, e.g., keyboard, scanner, joystick, light pen, etc.
    2. Output devices: They receive the information from the computer and convert it to a readable format. e.g., monitor, speakers, printer, headphone, etc.
    3. Storage Devices: These are used to store data. E.g., the optical disk, floppy disk, USB flash drive, memory card, etc.

5. Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing is a data centre available on the internet for users across the globe. Clouds have multiple functions and can be classified into the following types:

  • Enterprise Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud (Combination of enterprise and public cloud)
  • Public Cloud

Social and Economic Impact of ICT

ICT has had a large social and economic impact on society, as it has changed the way people communicate, learn, work, and live. Additionally, ICT has contributed to converting human experience into the computer. Therefore, today, robots can perform most human tasks and handle them efficiently.

ICT has largely contributed to the growth and development of the business and economy. The digital age is possible only because of ICT, and it has converted the traditional face to face interactions to digital ones.

Despite the tremendous possibilities and opportunities of ICT, the distribution of its capabilities is not even among the people. Rich countries and individuals have access to explore more possibilities of ICT. For example, many people have access to the devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. However, internet access is limited to people that can afford it. Even if many can afford the internet, they still have limitations of speed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of ICT

Advantages

The developments in the ICT have led to many cost-saving opportunities for businesses. These include businesses ranging from small scale to large scale. ICT has also changed the way people shop, socialize, communicate, and interact. It has given more choices to people and also enabled internet shopping by facilitating online transactions. Engineers at ICT are developing various applications and systems to make work and daily life easier for everyone.

Disadvantages

ICT has several advantages that have contributed to the growth and development of society. However, many problems have arisen with the development of ICT. Data security is one of the major problems. Moreover, the growing global network and increased speed of the internet has given rise to crimes. The security breach and stealing of intellectual property, money, and data have increased.

Additionally, ICT has encouraged automation and robotics, which has rapidly replaced workers. Another disadvantage of ICT is that it has limited personal interaction of people with each other, and hence it is creating a population that is largely dependent on technology. Other disadvantages are:

1. Expensive or costly:

The major drawback of using ICT in schools is the fact that computers, laptops, projectors, screens, digital boards, and electricity charges are much higher, which can't be afforded by most schools in rural areas.

2. Require trained and official teachers:

Due to the lack in the quality of training to the teachers, the teachers aren't aware of the various functions of the smartboard and the digital equipment, so they are not able to use the facilities to the fullest.

3. Rigid Nature:

Most of the teachers want to stick to their traditional forms of teaching. Many teachers don't want to teach by modern methods as they think that these gadgets will leave them jobless by taking over their job.

4. Addiction and time-wasters:

ICT has innumerable benefits if used in a productive way. Still, many use it for playing games, especially teenagers, and they get addicted to it and waste most of their time playing games.

5. Identity theft hacking, viruses, cheating:

As we know, ICT has made it easy for the users to do most of the things from the convenience of their homes, but it has also made the process risky for those who are not able to use these digital services properly. Various cases of cheating, hacking, etc., are reported daily. Besides all this virus is the major problem which people face; if a virus enters our computer system, it can destroy our computer software or even leak our data to unknown sources.

6. Health Problems:

Spending too much time on computers or laptops increases the health problems like distorted vision, obesity, feeling of fatigue, and many other long-term problems.

ICT and IT

Applications of the computer, which include storage, retrieval, transmission and data manipulation, are parts of Information Technology (IT). It is often popularly known as a communication system, computer system, and information system. It is known as the subset of the ICT and also includes other technologies of information distribution such as televisions and telephones. Along with these technologies, it is popularly known for computer networks.

The primary use of Information technology is in the storage, transmission, and manipulation of information. It is particularly beneficial for businesses. IT can be defined as a computer system that can act as a communication and information system. Peripheral equipment, hardware, and software are the part of the computer system that facilitates the functioning of the IT system. IT comprises television and telephone technology along with computer and computer systems. ICT is a major field, and IT is a part of ICT that has a specific application, and a limited group can access it.

ICT has an exhaustive list of components that are growing continuously. Computers and televisions were the traditional ICT devices, and some of the new ICT devices include smartphones, robots, and digital TVs. ICT also covers the domain of the wireless network along with wired devices and networks.

Applications of ICT Tools

ICT has a special provision in engineering and technology due to its widespread applications in almost every profession. It has a great impact on our day to day lives. Additionally, there are various roles and importance of ICT in almost every field. It has significantly contributed to engineering and technology literacy. Moreover, ICT is expected to grow more in the coming years. Some of the applications of the ICT tools are listed below:

1. ICT in Workplace:

From a small office to a big organization, computers are used directly or indirectly on a daily basis according to the need. From transmitting data from one user to another on a personal level or organizational level, data is transferred with the help of various applications.

2. ICT in Education:

Nowadays, ICT is widely used by students for e-learning. Students take help from various websites and applications which are available for clearing their concepts and enhancing their skills. These websites and applications help the students to learn the various concepts through animations and other resources.

3. ICT in Healthcare:

ICT plays a major role in healthcare from manufacturing and packaging to the distribution of medicines. The various types of machinery used in hospitals like x-ray machines, ECG, CT scan, MRI, etc., are also made with the help of ICT.

4. ICT in Governance:

The various schemes and benefits for the citizen are introduced by the government through different digital portals. The government has recently announced a digital India initiative to support ICT. To update your Aadhaar card, Passport or pay the electricity and water bill, all can be done from the convenience of your home. ICT helps the government in storing our personal data securely such as details on Aadhaar card, ration card, pan card, and on different portals.

5. ICT in business:

Various e-businesses, telecom and marketing websites use ICT as a medium to promote their websites. ICT helps the business industry from carrying out transactions to delivering any item; ICT has done it all and made almost everything paperless and user-friendly.

Role of ICT in Business:

  • For recording the data
  • For retrieving the previous data
  • For maintaining the cash flow
  • For maintaining the profit and loss

Modes of Accessing ICT

  1. Affordability of technology and technology use
  2. Appropriateness of technology
  3. Human capacity and training
  4. Integration into daily routines
  5. Legal and regulatory framework
  6. Local economic environment
  7. Locally relevant content, applications, and services
  8. Macro-economic environment
  9. Political will and public support
  10. Physical access to technology
  11. Socio-cultural factors
  12. Trust in technology

ICT Tools

  1. Mobile Phones: There are various smartphones available in the market which allows us to access the internet and to communicate in different corners of the world.
  2. Tablet: A tablet is a smaller version of a laptop that is mainly used for educational purposes. Nowadays, it is widely used in India for reading e-books.
  3. Smartboard: Smartboards are generally used in educational organizations for teaching purposes. It helps the teachers to teach students through various animations and video content.
  4. Newspaper: Newspaper publishers have launched their respective applications to help the users to read the newspaper on their mobile phones.
  5. E-mail: Nowadays, e-mails are used almost everywhere for transmitting data, to communicate with people, for giving confidential information and for various other purposes.

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