Information and communication technologies ( ICT)
covers a wide range of services,
applications, technologies, devices and software, i.e., tools such as telephony and the Internet, distance learning, televisions, computers, and the networks and software required to use these technologies, which are revolutionizing social, cultural and economic structures by creating new attitudes towards information, knowledge, working life, etc.
The term is sometimes used in preference to
information technology ( IT), particularly in two communities: education and government.
In the common usage it is often assumed that ICT is synonymous with
IT; ICT in fact encompasses any medium to record information ( magnetic disk/ tape, optical disks ( CD/ DVD), flash memory, etc. and arguably also paper records); technology for broadcasting information — radio, television; and technology for communicating through voice and sound or images — microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone to cellular phones. It includes the wide variety of computing hardware ( PCs, servers, mainframes, networked storage), the rapidly developing personal hardware market comprising mobile phones, personal devices, MP3 players, and much more; the full gamut of application software from the smallest home-developed spreadsheet to the largest enterprise software and online services; and the hardware and software needed to operate networks for transmission of information, again ranging from a home network to the largest global private networks operated by major commercial enterprises and, of course, the Internet. Thus, "ICT" makes more explicit that technologies such as broadcasting and wireless mobile telecommunications are included.
Information and communications technology has become the backbone of our economic growth and is a critical resource which all economic sectors rely on. It now underpins the complex systems which keep our economies running in key sectors such as finance, health, energy and transport; while many
business models are built on the uninterrupted availability of the Internet and the smooth functioning of information systems.