What Does Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Mean?
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is technology that is used to handle communications processes such as telecommunications, broadcast media, intelligent building management systems, audiovisual processing and transmission systems, and network-based control and monitoring functions.
Although ICT is often considered an extended synonym for information technology (IT), its scope is, in some ways, more broad. ICT is often used to describe the convergence of several technologies, and the use of common transmission lines carrying very diverse data and communication types and formats.
Techopedia Explains Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
In a very simplified sense, ICT is used to talk about all of the technologies that facilitate communications.
With that in mind, the term ICT has had several differing definitions applied to it. It's generally associated with consolidating and managing telecom infrastructure and converging technologies that have common transmission lines.
In some cases, ICT is also associated with delivering telecommunication services to underserved areas, or promoting more vibrant telecommunications and IT networks and services to facilitate career development.
To look at how this works, let's consider a given carrier that might offer a modern hybrid cloud model based on various principles or philosophies such as connectivity, security and unified channels. This type of integration of telecom and wireless services would sit in the category of ICT.
In a more traditional example, converging technologies that exemplify ICT might include the merging of audiovisual, telephone and computer networks through a common cabling system. Internet service providers (ISPs) commonly provide internet, phone and television services to homes and businesses through a single optical cable, so that is considered an example of ICT implementation.
ICT and Unified Communications
A discussion of ICT should also include a discussion of the term “unified communications.”
Unified communications basically refers to the broader delivery of diverse services through multiple device or platform types. Instead of the “bundling” that so often characterizes ICT, UC may rely on a much different paradigm.
In some cases, experts suggest that where ICT, refers to the convergence of technologies on common transmission lines, Unified Communications has more to do with a single private network platform that consolidates telecom and communication services.
In general, unified communication is a goal and a concept that's being applied to enterprise IT. Where unified communications is a an objective, ICT will often have relevance.
ICT and VoIP
A discussion of ICT might also not be complete without a discussion of utilizing VoIP to innovate telecom.
Voice over IP is replacing traditional wired telecom for voice. Increasingly, users are able to utilize desktop phones or other endpoints to get on a voice call through the Internet, instead of over traditional landlines or even more modern cellular telephony channels.
Here, ICT may be instructive. These types of ICT networks may involve unifying messaging and social structures as well.
As an additional example, some ICT structures may have other infrastructure goals, such as reducing costs of communication transmission and channel unification. All of it can live under the banner of ICT, as we move forward with innovations such as UC, virtualization, AI and the Internet of Things, which begs for more evolved networking systems. ICT will represent that category that addresses modern communications in every new era.
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