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Impact of ICT Trends and Developments

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    Referring to both the global and the South African context, identify the four ICT trends and developments that, in your opinion, have the greatest impact on the ICT sector. Analyse how each of these trends affect your own environment. .1 The internet: In terms of convenience and speed the internet „out sprints? the traditional telephone system. Some of the features that make it this super highway of information are: Ubiquity – it is available everywhere at the same time, as long as there is connection. This ensures global reach that touches many users at the same time.

    Universal standards – the technical standards of the Internet are the same in all countries. This breaks down the language and cultural barriers which could otherwise be stumbling blocks to smooth connection. Also, there is interactivity with the use of the „net? through the many-tomany model of mass communication. Laudon, K. and Laudon, J. (2011:330) The internet is a result of ICT development but by its very nature, as just outlined above, it has become a driver of further ICT trends and developments.

    We can now talk of the convenience of virtual stores, money transfer, collaboration in projects by team members separated by oceans etc. High speed broad band technology is increasingly making it more convenient to send large amounts of data or high quality sound and video. South Africa and the rest of the world cannot talk about any ICT trend or development and not link it to the Internet. Examples are cloud computing, social networking, the mobile platform, wireless technology and others. But the internet has also spawned some „bad children?.

    We now worry about cyber crimes, phishing, hacking, malicious software etc which are caused by undesirable people amongst us. My days are not complete without the internet any more. I send emails to my family, friends and business associates. I frequently work away from the office. Fortunately while I am away (unlike before the internet) it is possible for me and my colleagues to collaborate and brainstorm on the design of buildings (I am into property development) or the editing of documents without having to physically meet.

    I also enjoy bank facilities online and at the same time receive a confirmation SMSs on my mobile phone and emails via the internet. This alerts me to possible fraudulent activities and I can quickly get on to my banker before further damage is done to my bank account. Unfortunately, I cannot yet trust online buying because I feel I will be giving away my bank details. . 2 Cloud computing offers a number of services. For example Software as a service and Storage as a Service are the most common. http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Cloud_computing Laudon and Laudon (2011:149-150) We are all benefitting from cloud computing, by choice or unknowingly.

    Locally some people may not know much about the cloud or even heard about it, but anyone who uses the internet (at home, office or on mobile devices) is a beneficiary to cloud computing. It is a sign that this is a growing trend when a country with one fifth of the world?s population decides to put its money into it. Chinese expenditure in ICT development is only about a fifth of the United States? though. These may be steps still but a promise of giant strides into the future. ttp://www. computerworld. com/s/article/9208398/China_building_a_city_for_cloud_computing When I use Western Union to wire money to my family in a different country I benefit from cloud computing. The post office or bank I send from links up with the one in my country through the internet. Neither the sender office nor the receiver office store the transfer details in the hard drives of their computers. These will be in an email that is stored on the cloud. If there is poor internet connection that day, then alas, my poor family will not be able to receive the money.

    The other example is that all my personal and business emails from the year I started using the internet are always stored in the cloud. Not on the hard drive of my lap top. We are being spared from keeping large amounts of data in our computers which would otherwise make them slow. Or cause us to buy high capacity hard drives. Thus we are able to check our mail anywhere with any device that has internet interface. But cloud computing providers have to overcome the general mistrust people have. They need to be assure us first. „Will our personal and company secrets be safe?

    Will we be able to have 24/7 uninterrupted access? What if there is a disruption or crash as what has happened with Amazon and others in our recent ICT history? ? http://www. forbes. com/sites/bradpeters/2011/05/05/cloud-computing-r-i-p/ There will always be advantages and disadvantages and like with any ICT investment costbenefit analysis needs to be done. And yes, cloud computing will soon, or may have just hit its critical mass in South East Asia. http://www. itnext. in/content/top-10-ict-trends-2012. html . 3 Social networking is the constant exchange of personal information, gossip and news.

    Some sites also provide blogs, forums and automatic links to patrons? favourite music artistes, online games and other „Apps?. Going into the future I feel organisations will increasingly use it as a tool for creating marketing and public relations buzz. http://www. itnext. in/content/top-10-icttrends-2012. html. We are already seeing this when we visit company websites, when we receive emails or even on advertising billboards. „Follow us on twitter or facebook? they invite us. This constant interaction and exchange of information engenders demand for other ICT products and services.

    Examples are when an acquaintance uploads a photo to change their personal profile. Others will either buy camera phones or digital cameras so that they can conveniently upload their „pics? in future too. Another example for which social networking is used both on a personal and business level is to help create a buzz. Hot news „trend? and „go viral? on the sites. Networking is thus a potent marketing tool. Music which has now become an ICT product (because it can be uploaded by the artistes and then downloaded by the fans) is another product which has gained from use of social networking. Sizohlangana kwi facebook, We will meet on facebook’ South African music DJ promised us and as a result for the past 2 years he has become known as the king of downloadable music. http://samusicawards. co. za/profiles/blogs/first-winners-shine-on-night-oneof-the-18th-annual-mtn-south-afr Social sites are therefore good for business if used strategically. Such trends and developments are trickling in from the rest of world where standards in „matters digital? are usually set. Musicians in the developed world are known to make available some free downloads.

    This is in recognition of the fact that music DVDs and CDs are being illegally pirated these days, meaning music sales is no longer the main source of revenue. Rather by „donating soft copies? of their music musicians hope that this will help publicise their group?s name; and when the band goes on tour more people who will attend. Social Networking is changing the way we communicate with others, entertain and actually live. (Social Networks Overview: Current Trends and Research Challenges) http://cordis. europa. eu/fp7/ict/netmedia/docs/publications/social-networks. pd

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