ICT? UC? Will the technology industry ever run out of acronyms? Information and Communications Technology and Unified Communications are technology industry and marketing buzzwords, but what do they do, and what is the impact?
ICT and UC Defined
Integrated Communications Technology is essentially a catchall phrase for all the technology used to handle integrate and manage:
- radio; television
- cellular phones
- computer and network hardware and software
- satellite systems
- intelligent building management systems
- audiovisual processing and transmission systems
- network-based control and monitoring functions.
More recently, particularly in Europe, ICT has come to refer to the convergence of multiple technologies employing common transmission lines to carry very diverse data and communication formats simultaneously.
Unified Communications, or UC, is the “lite” version of ICT since it uses a single private network platform, rather than common transmission lines, to deliver multiple methods of communication including email, instant messaging, VoIP telephone, video conferencing, and more.
What is the Impact of ICT in the Business World?
We’ve talked about the IoT or Internet of Things – another of the myriad acronyms. In a sense, Integrated Communications Technology is the conduit that allows the Internet of Things to exist. From an economic development aspect, the IOT is an industry in itself, but more importantly, it allows just about any business to operate globally and more efficiently in today’s economy.
Another major aspect of the power of Integrated Communications Technology is its appeal to the sought after Millennial population. Both as consumers and a valuable skilled workforce, this demographic was born into the digital age, and know nothing else. Research indicates that the lifestyle they strive for hinges on technology from shopping to entertainment to employment. Millennials want flexibility, job satisfaction, and quality of life and place. The ability to telecommute, to work a flexible schedule, and to ALWAYS be connected are much sought after by this demographic. Employers who understand and employ this new corporate culture are more likely to recruit and retain this workforce.
In Europe, the significance of ICT lies not in the technology itself, but in the ability to deliver it to under-served areas as a means of fostering economic development. Sound familiar? It should, the US government, individual states, and municipalities are all working to find ways to deliver broadband to rural areas in the hope of growing local economies.
Whether we refer to Integrated Communications Technology as an answer to connecting rural populations or as a way to revolutionize the way business operates, no one can deny that it is a great technology tool for businesses.
On a smaller scale – one suited to your own business, Unified Communications can have an equally significant impact on the way you operate, AND your bottom line.
We’ll take a look at Unified Communications next week.